|photo courtesy nz.news.yahoo.com|
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were in New Zealand for ten days. I have never cared much about the British monarchy. I am an American; why would I care? Yet, I will admit I found myself watching The Royal Wedding in April 2011. And as a child, I had a Princess Diana paper doll that was one of my favorites (I still have it tucked away somewhere as a keepsake). My heart melted along with many others when the news of Diana’s death splashed across the TV in August 1997. And I wept as I saw her two young sons walk behind her casket with their heads down. I couldn’t help but feel so sad for those boys who lost their mum. Okay, so maybe I do care.
So hearing of Prince William’s visit to NZ with his family excited me. The day they arrived, I was hit with “Royal Fever”. Hearing all the hype, seeing the road closures for their motorcade to pass through, seeing the photos, knowing where they were staying… I was hooked. I knew the only chance I would be able to see them would be when they did a public walk through Wellington’s Civic Square on the last day of their NZ tour. At the time, I still had a week to think about how I could catch a glimpse. I knew, in my mind, that this would be epic. How many chances do you really get to see in the flesh the future King and Queen of England?
All week I brainstormed about how I would have to push my son’s nap back so that we could attend. I figured out that we would need to get there early in the morning to get a good spot. And I even decided that my son would wear his felt crown that has a ‘G’ on it… just in case we do get up close to them. Yes, it was going to be amazing! A once in a lifetime event!
Wednesday, the last day of their trip in NZ, arrived. My son woke up early and I could not get him back to sleep. This might get in the way of our plans… but “No worries”, as they like to say here. I will manage.
My son then decided he didn’t want to get dressed. So I let him wear his penguin pajamas. Yes, he can meet the Royals in his pajamas. Lovely. Of course, he didn’t want to leave the house. Finally with enough song and dance and daddy carrying him out to the car, we were on our way.
Then there was the rain. Rain so bad that there was flooding on the motorway. Traffic backed up due to the flooding. On the radio, the host spoke of how anyone outside waiting to see the Duke and Duchess would have to be “die-hard royal fans”. I don’t think that’s me… but maybe it was? We had our rain gear on and I was ready to make my toddler suffer in the cold dark rain with me just to… to do what? To get a wave?
I explained to my husband before dropping him off at work what a big deal this was. It’s rare to see the royals out and about. They’re not like “regular” celebrities who get to put on a concert. These tours are pretty much your only chance. Not to mention, we don’t live in London. The next time they come to NZ will probably be another twenty years or so.
It’s about the excitement of being a part of something. Feeling the energy of the rest of the country; feeling the city come alive with the understanding that WE are going to be a part of history… a part of Greatness.
I looked at my son sitting in his car seat in the back. Rubbing his eyes, yawning, I decided to throw in the towel on this idea. Buckets of rain continued to pour down on us and my heart sank at the realization that this just wasn’t going to work. While driving away, I saw the gate that leads to where the Royals were staying and the motorcade began to line up. Security officers at every stoplight, I got honked at by one who gestures to me to stop texting while sitting at a stoplight. For the record, I wasn’t texting…I was simply getting my phone ready for a photo opportunity if there was one…(I should have been paying attention).
Barely able to see the road, I was on the motorway toward home, looking behind me every so often to see if the motorcade started to close the road. My son began to do his siren noise as he does whenever he sees a police car or ambulance. It’s a lovely high-pitched piercing tone that really resonates in my head… he’s very talented.
Moving to NZ has opened me up to the possibilities of each day. It has showed me that you truly never know what could happen, especially when following your bliss. So much of our time here is routine for us because we have a toddler. It’s always an “experience” because we live in NZ but on Wednesday, I felt like something magical could have happened had we gone to see them.
My son asleep at home, I reach for my computer to look up images from the live blog. There they are, pictures of them arriving at Civic Square. Kate looking gorgeous as always, and Will looking so gracious. Sheer perfection.
I am reminded that my life is so much greater now that I have this little toddler to focus on. Every day IS magical because of him. I don’t need to be rubbing elbows with royals in order to feel a sense of belonging. I do belong. Not just to America or New Zealand, but to the World. And not just to my family, but also to a beautiful boy who looks to me to help him create his story. And maybe it might sound something like this, “I almost saw the Duke and Duchess when I was two years old but my mum decided it was more important for me to take a nap. I have a great mum.”
So… Dear Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Thank you for showering our country with your positive presence. Thank you for making us all glow for ten days amidst the rain. Thank you for helping us all feel as though we belong.
And thank you for reminding me that I’ve got all the greatness I need right here at home.
p.s. Prince George is NOT Joe Wellington. No need to ask.