Yesterday, we reversed our journey.
3:30 a.m. PST
I woke up a half hour before my alarm was set (travel anxiety-induced insomnia is one of my special talents) and discovered Riley, who was sleeping with me (yes, with me), had peed in the bed. It wasn’t a big deal (we brought mattress protectors with us), but at 3:30 a.m., his accident felt like bad omen and an “unlucky” way to start what was going to be a very long day.
5:00 a.m. PST
The drive to the airport was uneventful, and the foggy and misty Golden Gate Bridge was pretty cool, but there’s nothing more unpleasant than the nausea one feels when their body desperately wants to be asleep. The rental car return was a cinch, except we pulled in at the end of a line of about fifteen cars, and as a result, we had a very long walk to the AirTrain shuttle carrying/rolling the following:
- Two suitcases
- Four carry-on bags
- One box with a computer monitor inside (with a handle, thank God).
You don’t need to be a mathematician to know that we were f—ked. We had a long talk with the boys the night before about teamwork and everyone carrying their own bag at the airport and blah blah, but poor little Riley was a hot mess. Props to Dylan for rolling his backpack all the way from the rental car drop off garage, on the shuttle to the terminal, down and up and up and down four elevators, through the bag check line and security, and all the way to the gate. That trek was quite possibly the most exhausting 30 minutes Mike and I have ever spent as parents.
6:15 a.m. PST
Dylan, to anyone who would listen, including perfect strangers: “Do you have donuts here?” (They didn’t.)
7:05 a.m. PST
Riley, rather loudly to everyone at Gate 53: “Mommy, I peed!” (In the toilet, thank God.)
7:35 a.m. PST
Dylan, who was frustrated at how slow everyone was moving down the aisle as we boarded the plane: “Excuse me, can you walk faster?”
39,000 feet above the great state of Oklahoma
The boys were blissfully asleep and I was blissfully reading my book, yet I had a bad feeling (another unique talent of mine). I leaned over to Mike and said, “I’m so glad they’re asleep, but I’m terrified of what will happen when they wake up.”
Cue turbulence. Cue “ding!” and illuminate the seat belt sign. Cue the lovely (until that moment) flight attendant who said the boys had to have their seatbelts on. Now. Even though they were asleep…and quiet! Cue the unhappy, tired, and irrational three-year-old boy who Did. Not. Want. His. Seatbelt. On.
Twenty minutes later
Riley’s meltdown ended as abruptly as it began. I casually apologized to the people sitting nearby and hoped they all thought my diabolical child was adorable again. (Cue sparkle in Riley’s big, blue eyes.) Mike also calmed down from his own “moment” when he insisted that I tell Riley we’d never take him to California again if he didn’t stop crying (like he cared at that moment?) and to cover his mouth (i.e. smother him with a sweater.) Oy.
Surprisingly, I was a grateful Mama that we were at 39,000 feet when shit hit the fan, because if Riley had acted that way on the ground before take off, I’m pretty sure we would’ve been escorted off the plane to the sound of applause by all the other passengers. (And I would’ve immediately tweeted Anderson Cooper and Lisa Belkin!)
Five minutes later
Cue “aftershock” meltdown. Riley started crying again about wanting to sleep on my lap again. “Go ahead,” I said, but he didn’t approve of the pillow I made for him with my sweater. After an extensive back and forth (him crying/whining and me speaking firmly through gritted teeth and teary eyes), I asked yelled, “What do you want from me?” His response was, “A pillow shaped like a diamond.” A pillow shaped like a diamond? Like on a cruise ship when they make origami ducks and frogs out of bath towels? He was nuts, and even though I wanted to cry because I had to survive three more hours of his nonsense, I laughed. And laughed and laughed. Through his tears, Riley laughed a little bit, too. I think he knew he was teetering on the edge on insanity (just like his Mama). A pillow shaped like a diamond. Ha!
3:00 p.m. – 4:25 p.m. EST
The only thing worse than “Squinkies On A Plane” (which, by the way, we avoided) is sitting next to two busy boys who are sick and tired of sitting quietly on an airplane and knowing there’s still an hour and half left until the plane lands.
7:50 a.m. PST – 4:25 p.m. EST by the numbers
It just so happened that the entertainment system on our flight was broken so there was zero (free) satellite TV…for roughly five and a half hours. In total, we took two naps (halleluiah), had one major meltdown (boo), went to the bathroom seven times, lost (and then found) two Color Wonder markers, drank one glass of wine, and walked through our front door – home sweet home – around 6:00 p.m. EST.
9:00 p.m. – 10:15 p.m. EST
Bedtime, with two small children delirious with fatigue and stuck on west coast time, was a bitch. As usual.