Taxi Cab Talisman

By Beth M. Wood

When my sons were young, they were very into hot wheels. They had them all; fire engines, hot rods, construction trucks, rescue vehicles, school buses, even a red, double-decker right off the streets of London. They loved them all, especially the hot rods. My favorite of all of these was the little, yellow taxi with the New York plates.

While my boys would play, I’d lose myself in thought, romanticizing a trip to New York…I’d wake up in the morning, enjoy a quiet cup of coffee, pack my suitcase and drive to the airport, where I’d take the first flight to LaGuardia. Once in the city, I’d hop on the subway and head uptown, where I’d spend the first few hours of my day in one of the many writers’ cafés, clicking away on my laptop, trying not to stare at the best-selling authors around me. In the afternoon, I’d walk the streets with long, purposeful strides, the city wind whipping the scarf tossed casually around my neck. I’d duck inside open shops and buy fantastic outfits at designer boutiques. I’d spend my evening on Broadway, sipping Apple Martinis at a swanky bar, lit by the energy of Times Square.

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda…How I wish I’d traveled more, been less afraid and more selfish in my early twenties. No time for that now, I thought.

When our boys decided they were too old for the hot wheels, we packed them up to give them away to a local charity with all the toddler clothes they’d outgrown. But as I was setting that box on the front porch and closing the flaps, I noticed a little yellow piece of metal sticking out from beneath a pair of batman footie pajamas – the New York taxi. Something made me pluck it out of the box and drop it in my coat pocket instead.

It resided in my nightstand drawer, and every once in awhile I’d take it out, turn it over it in my palm, then return it to its parking space. With each spring-cleaning, I’d dump out that drawer’s contents, reorganize, restock and then re-park the hot wheel. Each time thinking, I could really use a break.

That miniature taxi became my talisman. Through my separation and eventual divorce. Through the rough years of pouring my heart and soul into my kids and trying desperately to balance a full-time job with the more important role of being a single mom to three kids. I’d work my way through a crying jag only to find that little cab clutched in my hand, the tiny license plate leaving a dent in my palm. I’d stare at it, wishing for a reprieve, just a few days to relax and renew.

I did eventually get that trip to New York, although in reality, it was for business; I was in and out of the city in less than 48 hours. And the cab wasn’t nearly as cute as the one in my nightstand. That trip wasn’t exactly as I’d imagined it would be, but it was a perfect reprieve from an often hectic, sometimes very stressful life. I visited the New York public library, saw a Broadway show, and most importantly, relaxed and renewed my spirit. By the end of the trip, I missed my kids terribly and was ready to get home.

I’ve been to New York several times since I first clutched that little cab in my hand. Each time I walk down 5th Avenue, up 42nd street and across Times Square, I realize that while maybe I wasn’t as brave as I’d liked to have been before my kids came along, the choices I did make led me to my perfect life – surrounded by the people I love most in the world. Needing some time to myself now and then doesn’t change that.

Taking time to reclaim my spirit and renew my sense of self makes me a better mom. And day dreaming about a little time away is not only harmless; it’s good for the soul. It gets us through tough times, and keeps us looking towards the future, towards the possibilities, the what-ifs. Now that I’ve been in a real New York taxi, maybe it’s time for a new dream, a new adventure.

I always did like that red, double-decker hot wheel…

About this writer

  • Beth M. Wood Beth M. Wood is an award-winning marketer, freelance writer and mom of three. Her social media addiction pays the bills and steady copywriting gigs feed her shopping habit. She blogs about marketing and social media at, digresses about life and parenting at and tweets @a1972bmw.

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7 Responses to “Taxi Cab Talisman”

  1. Phyllis Fredericksen says:

    I always wait anxiously for Ms. Wood’s next article. She just “gets” it. She obviously loves her family, but also knows that daydreaming helps keep our dreams alive. Here’s to many more dreams come true:)

  2. Beth Brightfield says:

    All of us moms have our dream escape fantasies-mine has always been a tropical beach somewhere but I can totally relate to the anonimity that New York City would give a person getting away for a few days.

  3. Mary Baechle says:

    What would life be without our dreams? Loved the article. A very talented writer.

  4. Mike Hartnett says:

    Dreams past and present are who we are. Thanks for letting us share with you.

  5. Mary Zimmermann says:

    Hope this gifted writer takes us with her on her red, double-decker adventure….very soon I hope.

  6. Lynn Obermoeller says:

    Beautiful story – and I want to go on the red, double-decker adventure too!

  7. Beth’s story speaks to my soul. Every mother needs an escape, if only in an imaginary double-decker or yellow taxi.

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