I’m a third generation New Yorker, but Â I’ll be the last in my family to live here. My son has other plans.
“Lift me up so I can see the stars,” he said to me on Second Avenue at night, and I put him atop my shoulders like an Indian prince.
“It’s hard to see the stars here,” I told him. “Too many lights, too many tall buildings.”
He never took an interest in the Art Deco Chrysler Building or the majestic Brooklyn Bridge like I did at his age. Â He is intrigued by loftier heights — space, the final frontier.
“One day, I’ll take you to Montana,” I said. “I went there with Grandma and Grandpa when I was your age. Â When you look up, you won’t believe how many stars are in the sky.”
“But will you still lift me up so I can see the stars, even in Montana?”
“I’ll always lift you up to see the stars.”
“Even when you’re gone?” he asked. Â The maturity of hisÂ question surprised me, as if he already understood the concept of death.
And I had no answer for him. Â Luckily, he changed the subject at whim, as boys his age tend to do.”
“I don’t want to go to Montana,” he said. Â “I’d rather go to Mars.”
“Mars, well, well! Daddy can’t lift you up all the way to Mars. Â For that, you’ll need a super-duper rocket. Â And you’ll probably have to go on your own because Daddy doesn’t like heights.”
“OK, I’m not afraid,” he said about his future journey in a rocket ship, a trip that he would someday take without me supporting him on my shoulders.
“Will you miss me up in space?” I asked.
“Nah, we can still Skype,” he said.