When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April, 2011, it was just days before I was scheduled to depart for the Dominican Republic with my daughter, Kaitlyn. We were really looking forward to a week of relaxing in the sun at an all-inclusive resort. But cancer had other plans for me. Added to the mind shattering shock of a cancer diagnosis was the guilt I felt for having to cancel our mother-daughter adventure. I promised her that “when” I recovered (while wondering “if” I would recover), I would take her on her dream trip: prom dress shopping in New York City. My BFF’s, Jackie, Sherry and Madonna, also with prom-dress-shopping-aged daughters agreed that they would join the adventure. So on November 9th, we all set off on our dream vacation, a mother-daughter shopping spree in NYC (with a couple of tag alongs, my son, Donovan and his friend Mark).
Donovan, Susan, Haley, Jill, Kaitlyn, Maria and Mark
I am not sure that NYC is a place I would want to visit again anytime soon. Between the crowds, the noise, and getting ripped off every time I turned around (including $500 for bogus Knicks tickets!), I did not have a great first impression of the Big Rotten Apple! However, if I can find 100 perks of having cancer, then it behooves me to find something good to say about NYC.
First of all, after seeing Times Square hundreds of times in the movies and on t.v., it was a surreal experience to actually stand there amid the gigantic electronic billboards.
Also surreal was the shopping in NYC. I was mentally prepared for the gargantuan sized stores and array of clothing and accessories available to shoppers. However the sheer energy of the stores is what took me by surprise. With bright lights, flashing billboards, crowds of people, energetic sales clerks, and LOUD music, it was like Walmart on crack! My overloaded senses could only handle so much before I had to scurry off to the sanctuary of my hotel room, bags in hand, leaving a trail of burnt plastic in my wake. Like all extreme sports, extreme shopping in NYC can be described as both exhausting yet exhilarating.
Between shopping sprints, we managed to take in some of the sights, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, and my personal favorite, Central Park. Stepping on to the grass in the middle of the concrete jungle was a soothing balm to my frazzled soul. The best part of the whole trip for me was not the great shopping, the good food or even the amazing sights. The best part was seeing my baby girl say YES to the DRESS. Thank you dress angels! (Sorry, if you were hoping for a sneak peek, it is a secret more highly guarded than Kate Middleton’s wedding dress. Stay tuned for May 11th prom pictures.)