Last month, James and I had several work reasons to be in New York so we thought we’d see what would happen if we brought five-month-old Jude along with us. It’s certainly work to bring a baby in tow, but we had a lot of fun together as a family. Here are some photos of our 5-day trip…
The perks of two parents being Platinum on Delta? “Free” floor space to kick around in. You’re welcome, Jude.
Early lunch in New Jersey at Van Gogh’s Ear Cafe. Cool vibe, yummy food. James & I recommend the Brie + Apple Pizza or the Foccacia Pizza Salad.
Jude recommends Sophie the Giraffe.
We went on to Rockaway, NJ where Blood:Water and I presented at this year’s Collyde Summit. The theme was “Overcome.” I shared about what it looks like to stay with the commitment to justice even on days when you just don’t feel like it. (Jude hung in the back with James).
Here’s my colleague, Michael, introducing our Give.Hope.Kits for churches to use this Christmas to help bring clean water through biosand filters.
From there, we took the train into New York. Despite sticking to our carry-ons only policy, it was still cumbersome to get everything into the packed train and then cram our way through the subways…
… but we eventually made it to our favorite little hotel just outside the city.
Obligatory walk to our Venezuelan favorite, Arepas Cafe. Black beans, plantains, avocado, yum.
Jude was spent. Note how he fell asleep mid-teething toy.
The next morning, we went to James’ old church and then visited our Charity: Water friends, Scott & Vik Harrison, so we could meet each other’s babies.
We swapped stories about adjustment into parenthood amidst high-demand & travel-heavy jobs. We marveled at how our baby boys have turned our priorities upside down, or right side up – in such a good way.
James went on to some pre-meetings for the Clinton Global Initiative. Jude and I hung out at the hotel and cheered on the 49ers, despite losing to the Cardinals. (Colin Kaepernick is the one with the football; Jude is the one with the musical whale).
Dinner with Uncle Milton and other members of the Lwala Community Alliance.
The next morning, James and I dropped Jude off with a babysitter at a subway corner where they walked through the park and along the river. We ran off to attend the Social Good Summit hosted by Mashable, the UN Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The main theme was focused on innovations and hopes for the world we envision for 2030. Several influencers spoke about their vision. Here are NY Times’ Nick Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn sharing about how actions speak louder than hashtags. (Please note the irony in this photo).
My BFF Melinda Gates was on stage discussing her Mothers & Babies initiative while TV show, Nashville’s Connie Britton finished speaking on women’s rights, as a Goodwill Ambassador to the UN. (Making us proud, Connie!).
Here was my stated hope for #2030NOW.
(And, that MOTHERS OF INFANTS GET MORE SLEEP. #TiredEyes)
James took meetings at the Clinton Global Initiative while Jude and I people-watched from the Sheraton lobby. The place was packed with heads of state, philanthropists, celebrities, NGO leaders and the press. It was a strange experience to be on the mommy/wife side of the equation.
Actually, it was a stressful experience because Jude needed to both nurse and be changed, and I had been needing to go to the bathroom for the last several hours, but didn’t know how to manage it all in a stall of a crowded bathroom, all on my own. (How do New York mamas do this?!?).
Enter my dear friend, Ruthie McGinn, an immediate answer to a hasty, “Lord, I can’t hold any of it any longer” kind of prayer. Ruthie is Special Assistant to (my mentor) Gary Haugen at International Justice Mission, and she was in the lobby waiting to prep Gary for his meeting. She kindly became Most Special Assistant to Stressed Mama and Crying Baby.
Ruthie gave me the key to her hotel room, and in the madness of it all, Jude and I found a bathroom and a haven.
And an amazing view.
The next day, James went on to more CGI meetings while I participated in a maternal & child health gathering hosted by Johnson & Johnson. (We met another babysitter, this time at a Barnes & Noble, where she played with Jude in the children’s book section).
Nobel Peace Prize Winner (and Vanderbilt grad), Dr. Muhammad Yunus: “It goes without saying, if you’re poor, you’re poor in health. If you’re a poor woman, it’s the worst.”
My new Nigerian hero, Toyin Saraki: “As a pregnant woman, you cannot reach out for the help you need if you don’t know what that help is. Midwives in Africa are the key to providing that education, to allowing a pregnant woman to have accurate info on what will keep her and her baby safe. Lack of access to this information is simply another form of poverty.”
I’m so inspired to continue to advocate for safe mamas and babies through our maternal and child health work at Blood:Water.
I rushed off to meet the babysitter, but we both got stuck on opposite sides of a 10-minute “freeze.”
Meaning, President Obama was about to pass through (he was attending the United Nations General Assembly), so no one was allowed to cross streets or drive through a blocked off radius. I stood stuck in a frustrated human traffic jam for ten minutes. (New Yorkers are not accustomed to standing around).
Once cleared, Jude and I met up with James in Central Park between his meetings.
And then Jude and I had a final date at Le Pain Quotidien before heading to the airport. We found a corner bench. Amazing avocado toast for me…
…and, Sophie the Giraffe for Jude.
It took extra coordination and energy to bring Jude along, but he was great company and he certainly added more joy and adventure to our traveling days.