We had the best time in NYC! Caleb was asked to be part of a commercial shoot for St. Jude’s “Thanks and Giving” campaign, which is their largest campaign of the year. So with about 3 days notice we flew to New York City!
This trip fell just at the perfect time for us… last week Caleb’s counts were too low to travel, and the end of this week we have Tyler’s open house before he starts kindergarten. So we checked his counts Monday morning before we left, and his doctor approved him to travel. We still took all the precautions we could with hand washing, wiping down surfaces in the airport and airplane, and having Caleb wear his mask. Hopefully Caleb won’t come down with anything but I have to say the memories were worth it! We had so much fun! But getting a 4 year old to wear his mask isn’t always easy!
We flew to New York Monday afternoon and were taken to our hotel. It was getting close to Caleb’s bed time by the time we got settled in, and we didn’t want to risk him getting sick before the shoot, so daddy went out and got us pizza. New York City sized pizza!!! Ha ha! Caleb enjoyed the awesome view from our hotel room and ate his pizza in bed. He felt so special. He said it was the best pizza he ever had and after that it was hard to talk him into eating anything else while we were there!
On Tuesday we woke up and got ready for the shoot. We had to be downstairs to meet everyone at 10:15 so we decided just to order room service for breakfast. Caleb was completely amused by this! He was so excited that everything came on a tray directly to our room. We ate a good breakfast and got ready for the day!
When we walked downstairs I immediately recognized one of the other families with a little boy about Caleb’s age. We have chatted before at St. Jude as he and Caleb had radiation around the same time last year. Caleb and his little buddy were together all day! They sat next to each other on the bus and played all day.
We were taken to the location of the shoot by bus. It’s basically a loft that is rented out for photo and video shoots. It was a really cool location! When we got off the elevator the first thing we saw was a table FULL of toys. The kids could pick anything they wanted to play with. Caleb and his buddy were so excited!!! There was also a hair/makeup person and wardrobe set up. They had snacks and drinks for all of us as well. So, we basically just got to hang out until they were ready for Caleb and his part of the shoot.
They produced 2 commercials. The first was with the girls who were a little bit older. Then next was Caleb’s turn. I can’t say much about the commercials until they air in November but I can say that they were with Michael Strahan. If you don’t know who Michael Strahan is, he was in the NFL for 15 years (played for the NY Giants) and he is now a TV personality with his own show, Strahan and Sara… and most importantly, he is an avid St. Jude supporter. He was so great with the kids and Caleb climbed up right next to him like he’d known him forever! Caleb had one line that was literally one word, but he kept getting it wrong ha ha! But he did finally get it right and he was so darn funny!!! Then after the video production part of the shoot all the kids took pictures with Tony Thomas (Danny Thomas’ son) and Michael Strahan.
After the shoot wrapped they brought us back to our hotel. Caleb really wanted to ride the subway because we told him it was a train underground. This really excited him!! So we put on his mask and ventured underground to ride the Subway to Rockefeller Center and FAO Schwartz. We took 2 trains in the wrong direction, and then a nice lady helped us figure out the right one to get on. It’s not a New York City Subway adventure without taking the wrong train, right?! Ha ha!!!
So we finally made it to FAO Schwartz and Caleb couldn’t believe it! Huge toy store with so many cool things! We let him pick out a couple of goodies for him and also for Tyler.
After we finished shopping we were hungry for dinner. We really love Carmine’s, but didn’t have a reservation. I never made one because we weren’t sure exactly what our schedule was going to be. We walked in and the place was packed. We were about to walk out when a really nice man (maybe a manager?) said come with me… he took us straight to a table. Caleb was thrilled with the fact that each table has its own Parmesan cheese container ( he looooves Parmesan cheese). He ate so much spaghetti! I have never seen him eat that much. He loved it and said he wanted to eat it every day… me too Caleb, me too!!
We woke up this morning (Wednesday) and it was time to head home. It was a short trip but it sure was a good one! We were able to do something to represent St. Jude which we are so passionate about. Spreading their message about the work they do is something we are committed to doing for the rest of our lives. I hope as Caleb grows he understands how special he is, and how special it is that he got treatment at St. Jude.
It was also special just bringing Caleb to New York. I can’t wait to travel more with the kids and show them all that’s out there in this world! New York was a great start. I get chills just looking at the sky line and thinking about the history there. This includes 9/11 of course. When we go to the airport the kids always ask why they can’t take their drinks through security, and why people take their shoes off, and I always tell them that’s just the rules and some day I’ll explain it all to them. But I hope they never have to witness anything like that in their life time.
We missed Tyler very much and I can’t wait to plan a future trip to New York to show them even more. We are back home now and Tyler has only a couple more days before he starts Kindergarten!!!!
How cool was this! A special reward for a special boy and family. Caleb will be such a super representative of St. Jude. The journey continues and the prayers continue. May this detour on life’s journey provide Caleb with strength, love and enlightenment all the days of his very, very long life.
So glad you had a wonderful time in New York…..Can’t wait to see the commercial…..Love ya’ll…The Kidd’s