Thursday, June 21, 2007

First Family Vacation: Sunday

Departure day. I was a little blue that the time passed so quickly—I’ve been looking forward to this trip for months. We were slow on the draw and relieved to get a late check-out time, but still ended up being late to our breakfast date at the “greasy spoon” (her words) with Marlene, James and Jessie, our new friend from Milwaukee, whom we would be driving to the airport. Following a scrumptious meal of blueberry pancakes, we hustled back to Cherry Valley (with a brief pitstop to change Jarrah’s diaper in the back seat of the car on Main St.—hopefully we did not disrupt anyone’s impression of serene and pastoral downtown Granville) threw everything in our suitcases, and still checked out 15 minutes late.

We headed to Marlene’s house, and “helped” open wedding gifts (lots and lots of bowls of various composition) but the clock was relentless and all too soon it was time to leave for the airport. Jarrah had just made friends with Lea and Willy, and was kind of busy locking them both in the bathroom, so was not inclined to go. It was a moment we all resisted, but Route 16 beckoned.

Teresa had called with the portentous news that the airport was overrun with lines and delays, but everything went smoothly for us.

Jarrah was incredibly weepy on the first, short flight, and kept asking for her nap. When she actually asks, it's a bad sign. But we didn't want to encourage napping on a 40-minute flight and thus use up our "nap coupon" for the day before the 4-hour flight. By the time we got to Nashville, she was in no mood. In days of yore, a 50-minute layover might be spent in the leisurely pursuit of snacks and magazines, but not this time. I thought I was taking Jarrah's hand to walk her across the way to buy a banana, but instead she bolted, and she sprints like the wind. The airport was crowded (obviously) and within seconds she was out of my sight. With my heart pounding, I took off after her, but she had run 10 gates (!) before I caught up. I arrived just in time to see her chummily explaining to a stranger: "I run away from Mommy!" Basically, we're talking your average "Abduction Red Alert" nightmare. I strolled serenely towards her (all in show) knelt at her feet, and then walloped her bottom--just once. I'd never done that before. I really had no idea if it would be at all persuasive, but I was so furious.

I did myself no favors with that move. She lay down in the middle of the walkway, face into the carpet, and cried histrionically. When I lifted her, she was dead weight, and since she refused to walk, I had to carry her all the way back. As I walked, she used both fists to whack my face in a rhythmic motion--"whack-whack-whack! whack-whack-whack!" I gritted my teeth and did nothing, just soldiered on. I was sweating. I had a sudden strong yearning for my old life, when layovers were all about my needs, mine, mine, MINE! But my old life was nowhere in sight, and my new life was making a lot of noise.

The plane was pre-boarding when we staggered back, and Jarrah was asleep within minutes of take-off. She slept three hours. The girl was tired. I'm not unsympathetic to this. After all, I was tired, too. David also snoozed while I made good use of the laptop for a couple hours, and then finally got to read my book. We arrived in San Diego right on schedule, but had some shlepping to get our luggage onto the bus and then to the garage. Jarrah was starting to get the idea that we had not, as she'd hoped, made a permanent move to Cherry Valley. She cried most of the drive home, moaning, "Back to Che-wee Valley...Mommy Daddy go out to din-nuh...babysitter comes." I knew just how she felt.


Anonymous said...

Sam!! The email version of the Jarrah-bolting-in-the-airport story left out how horrible it all was for you. I wish I could've been there to give you a big hug.


Jeanie said...

Sorry you had such a tough time on the way back! But you're still a great writer, and you make me laugh with all the funny images you create in my head... "whack! whack! whack!"

Anonymous said...

Yes, Sam--I can imagine how incredibly scared you were when Jarrah ran away at airport! OMG!

But at the end of your entry, I laughed at Jarrah's last lines: she is her mother's daughter!

Glad you had such a great time!

Miss J

Mary and Paul said...

I am glad you are all home safe and sound!!

Big Hugs,