A Christmas Wish...

When I was what they now call a tween and a mere retail seedling at my parent’s Hallmark store, they had an employee whom I loved and admired that went on vacation to New York City.  There were murmurs - because I didn’t have anything to do that summer and my brother was off at track or science camp or something - of me going with her.  They asked me if I’d be interested and the resounding answer was YES.  They deliberated for what felt like weeks as to whether she even wanted a silly little tag-along and what she would do in the case of emergency, how much it would cost for me to fin my own way, etc.  Turned out…I did NOT get to go for whatever reason.  I was crushed.

What happened next, is that I became OBSESSED with going to New York.  As long as I could remember, I’d fantasized about going to Paris. I was already dreaming of being a designer one day and the City of Lights and all the beautiful magic within, called to me. But, New York was amazing too, at least in pictures.  And it felt attainable, at least, in my young mind.  No passport, no foreign funds, no big deal. 

Years later, you can imagine the pit in my stomach when my brother and his then wife, announced at a family dinner that they were moving to NYC to pursue their singing/acting careers.  Sibling rivalry is real, my friends.  Once again, the wind had been knocked right out of my sails.  YES, I had just opened my first business and was living my dream but NO, I had still not been to New York!  And, my brother was going to MOVE THERE?  Wait…my brother was going to LIVE in New York?  I suddenly had a reason to go and a place to stay!  Without even consulting Robin, I booked myself a 10-day birthday trip, leaving him to run the store AND care for Ellie.  I had no choice and he knew it.  I HAD TO GO.

Over the course of that trip, despite the fact that a sea-level destination in June is the HOTTEST and (ew) SWEATIEST place on Earth, I fell in love. 

I am very lucky that I’ve been able to go back many times.  The most memorable time, with Robin and Ellie at Christmas, when we stayed at a lovely but sparse apartment in the West Village.  We marveled at the giant tree at Rockefeller Center, did our Christmas shopping at the Chelsea Market and gazed with childlike wonder at the holiday window designs on 5th Avenue.  We ate at a CHOCOLATE-themed restaurant near Union Square and gorged on Dim Sum in Chinatown.  I cried at the sight of Monet’s Water Lilies at MOMA and Van Gogh’s Self Portrait at The Met and we even saw one of my favorite living crooners, Harry Connick, Jr. in a show on Broadway.  It was nothing short of perfection!

I’ve now been to the city enough that I feel like I “know” it.  I mean, as well as a small-town, native New Mexican girl can, anyway.  I know the lay of the land.  The hot spots and the tourist traps, my favorite neighborhoods and can’t miss restaurants, and for the most part, I navigate it with ease.  And, I will never miss an opportunity to go back.  I straight up LOVE New York!

And, while I carry that in my heart…  I still haven’t been to Paris.  Any of you that know me, know it calls to me.  Every. Damn. Day.

Before we started this venture, Robin and I had vowed that come hell or high water, we would go to Paris next year, for our 25/30.  (We will have been married for 25 years in May but lived together for five years first, so we count that too.)  But as I write this, it just seems so thoroughly UNATTAINABLE.  We have poured our hearts and soul into this business and for the unforeseeable future, non-working vacations, just don’t seem to be in the cards. 

I am putting it out there, nonetheless.  I’m so very grateful for everything we’ve accomplished but I am yet, unfulfilled.  PARIS…is my forever Christmas wish!

Cara Evans