I went to New York with a mission, and ended up with four coins.
Through a turn of fate, my dad took his new wife and pursued graduate studies in University Wisconsin Milwaukee. My sister and I would be born there as they remained in Wisconsin. While I am proud to call myself a Wisconsinite, I cannot listen to my friends’ stories of family get togethers without feeling forlorn. A family relationship is hard to keep up through occasional telephone calls and birthday cards. It was not uncommon to feel a sense of isolation. My relatives were moving on without me and it pained me. So, when my dad took our family to New York this past summer, I was determined to connect with a family I did not know.
We went to New York with every disadvantage. It was a shortened trip, only eight days, cramped in the Staten Island Hotel while we rushed around and visited our relatives. We never spent too much time in one place, for dad was always taking us other places, crossing off names and places on his mental to-do list. My family members became a blur on this whirlwind trip through Staten Island.
It was awkward to my family again; I hadn’t seen them in four years. All I could do was smile, for I had been rendered speechless because I was too shy to say anything. However, being constantly near my relatives forced me to open up. They asked questions about my life and my college plans. They even became mentors as they passed down advice and cheered me on in my decision to move to New York for college. By the last day of our trip, I was with all my relatives in my grandmother’s cramped living room on Staten Island, sharing stories and eating greasy New York pizza. The adults shared birthday cheer for me and my cousin John, who had just come back home from a trip in England. Having taken a trip to England, I easily connected to the stories he shared with me. He had even given me four British coins to look at. As I rested my head upon my grandmother’s rocking chair, I had felt that I had found my place in my family.
Then dad told us we had to leave. We were leaving for Wisconsin in the morning.
I was crestfallen. Only two hours and I had to break the fragile family bonds all over again. Struggling to keep my voice steady, I kissed and hugged my family goodbye. My grandmother took one last picture of me and my dad and I was praying that she didn’t capture my tears. During the car ride back to the hotel, I realized I still had John’s coins in my pocket. I spent all night rubbing the coins. Stroking those coins gave me a piece of family to take home with me, instead of the usual feeling of separation.
Those four coins have become my motivation. One week was not long enough to reestablish myself in my family, but it was enough to give me determination. These coins remind me that I want to come back, at least for a bit, and make up to my family for lost years. I no longer want my family moving along without me. When I do go back, I will give my cousin John back his coins; I will not need them anymore, for he’ll be with me, along with the rest of my family, at long last.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.