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Son Time

There are five very important males in my life: my husband Peter, our two sons, and our two grandsons. I never get enough time with any of them (except maybe Peter). But I especially miss our older son Seth who, as The New York Times' Frugal Traveler, is the hardest to pin down for some quality time simply because he's on the road or in his second home in Brazil more than he is in New York.

So when we had him all to ourselves in New York City for forty-five hours last weekend, it was pure joy.

Photo by Seth Kugel


It didn't matter that we got to the Museum of Natural History too late to get tickets for its blockbuster exhibit on the brain, or that there were umbrella-breaking winds and torrential rain on Saturday. It didn't matter that there were no cabs as we made our way to Lincoln Center and therefore missed the first fifteen minutes of War Horse. Or that we had to walk through ankle-deep puddles to hail a cab afterwards.

What was important about the weekend was that we were part of his life. We ate at restaurants he likes. We had coffee at a café where he often writes. We rode his subway. We laughed through a play starring Chris Rock that has a word in the title that I don't feel comfortable saying, let alone writing. He was completely generous with his time.

I remember that my mother always asked me when I would be back again after my visits home. I understand how much it means to have a next visit on the calendar, and we don't have that. But this time, I left without my usual tears.

I was so grateful for my son time.



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Eileen Smith

This is lovely. And as a person who often peppers my writing with some missing-family talk (I'm the misplaced daughter, in Santiago Chile, and my mother's scads closer to you than I am to Seth), it's nice to hear a mother's perspective (even if she's not mine).


I enjoyed your post. Reminds me that even though I'm grown and live far from home, the time I do spend with my family is important and a gift to both of us.


Hello Mrs. Kugel,
I met your son in Sao Paulo and he is a very special one. His love to Brazil is very genuine and that moved me. This is the second post I read on your blog, and that moved me too. My son is 14 now, and I am just starting to get this feeling of losing him to the world. But I guess that's how it works.
Next time, come with him to Brazil!

BR, Renata Castro e Silva


Hi Mrs. Kugel! I love your blog!! I just got married last year and I can't explain it, but I absolutely enjoyed reading your entries about the book club, your Costco arguments, rearranging furniture... My husband and I are best friends so I could see us doing the same things when we're in our 70's. Except we don't exercise as much. Congratulations on your 40+ years of marriage, btw:)

P.S. Your most recent entry makes me want to visit my mom now (12:40am PST)!

Jon Tan

Thanks fo sharing "Mama kugel." (may I say that?) I am a 20-something freelance photographer who recently took his first, medium-term, overseas, solo adventure (10wks, 5 countries; one being Cuba) and am a huge fan of your son's writing as the Frugal Traveller. In the months before my departure in January, I voraciously read through all your sons writings and adventures. I stumbled upon your blog just now as I was reading his article, and want to say I am glad you so warmly support Seth on his adventures. My own mother is still recovering from the fact that I went to 5 countries alone and never had a Plan B. Someone recently asked me who, of in the entire world today, I would want to have coffee with. For sure, it would be your son. Perhaps one day we will all cross paths together in a cafe.. Brazil, NYC, or somewhere in between. Enjoy your entries!

Jon Tan of JonTheRoad.com

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