Silas, Eden and I are sitting in Denver. We've been at the airport for 3 1/2 hours. No one threw up on flight #1 (ALLELUIA!) despite Silas's grey face and my deep breaths and closed eyes as we bounced out of the sky to the runway.
Before we came, I read my journals from when I was pregnant with Silas and Eden. With both I flew at 10 weeks and with Silas threw up three times and with Eden not at all. The week has been touch and go -- days of feeling on the verge of vomiting all day long and days of feeling fairly normal. What day would today be? I have been dreading traveling: an early morning rushing out the door; a plane; flying alone with the kids; feeling sick before we start. But our plans are months old, and we had to go. Ben would meet us at the end of leg #2 with our huge suitcase of ski stuff that -- God bless him -- he lugged all the way to DC and back again so I didn't have to bring it.
After wandering the Denver airport for two hours -- Silas and Eden cheery and chatty -- we settled at our gate to board our second plane, and Ben texted this photo from Aspen:
Somehow the airline not only shredded our BAG, but Silas's and my winter coats as well.
One minute later, someone on the loudspeaker announced that our flight to Aspen -- the flight on the tiny plane into the mountains that I was most dreading -- was cancelled because of high winds.
* * * * * *
(I am now writing post-flight)
Long story short, we got re booked on a flight a couple hours later, bought candy, visited the toy story, spread our books and toys on the airport floor, and settled in until we were called from the standby list.
There were not three seats together on the little plane, so Silas sat six rows back in the only other empty seat next to a 25 year old guy who smiled and ushered him in. As soon as I started to walk away, I realized I had to tell the guy that Silas gets motion sick sometimes. Somehow he took the news without flinching. Then a man appeared at my seat and asked if Eden and I wanted to swap rows to sit in front of Silas. Thank you. The pilot announced the flight would be extremely bumpy, especially the takeoff and landing, though it would probably be just as bumpy in between. I breathed.
We took off and the plane began bucking as soon as we were in the sky. The woman in front of me had her arms wrapped around her armrests, gripping. I quietly opened both barf bags from our seat back pockets and set them at my feet. And then, miraculously, we hit a smooth spot. I breathed. I almost asked the woman in front of me if I could borrow her US Weekly, but my stomach wasn't quite that settled yet. And then it began again -- hitting a speed bump at 90 mph -- on and on. I heard Silas and the angel-man behind me talking about angry birds as he played. I closed my eyes and breathed and breathed, gulped air. My stomach went inside out again and again. Air, more air. No drink service. No seat belt sign off. Just bumps. Eden grew paler. As we began the descent she lay on my lap and told me she didn't feel well. The plane was bouncing. I held a bag at her chin and sat with the air jets blasting in our faces with my eyes closed, singing under my breath to concentrate on words, intermittently gasping for air. I leaned into the aisle and told Silas's friend he may want to have a bag ready. The woman in the pink sweater's knuckles were white. I closed my eyes again. There wasn't enough air on the plane. Breathe, breathe, sing, breathe. I heard Eden singing to herself too and taking deep breaths, her head on my leg. I stroked her hair, tried to concentrate on the texture of her static-y hair, breathing. Suddenly, the ground. Landed!!! I immediately I started crying. Crying so much I couldn't stop; I was weeping, overwhelmed with gratitude and relief. Nine hours later, we were on the ground! In tact. No throwing up! So many kind people. Ben, my mom and dad right outside the plane.
We have only lived in this house for one year. It is small and pink. There is one bathroom with a faucet the kids can't turn on and a small deep bathtub. In the back, a bushy Meyer lemon tree grows beside the jasmine we brought here, and in the corner of the yard, a tall fruitless avocado. We will leave the tree house with swinging ladder that Ben built in the umbrella'ed pepper tree, where the humming birds also love to perch. We will leave the swing the kids fly to the branches on, and the fire pit we've gathered around.
Tonight I am packing my studio -- the musty little work room my landlord allowed me to take over momentarily. It smells old and as dusty as it is. There are rusty hatchets, spades, rakes, and shovels hanging on the wall, jars of screws and nails , a worn work bench that has become my table. I've tacked up fabrics over his shelves of boxes and paint buckets and lined the others with books and journals.
Through the windows I can see the patio lit with strings of white bulbs. The air is cool but not too cold in this drafty space that I'm slowly stacking with boxes.
Today I bought my plane ticket, my one way plane ticket. Pressing "purchase" on the American Airlines screen, though it locked me into the security of a date, though I've been planning to do this all along, unlocked something in me that keeps leaking. I am leaving. We are leaving. What will life look like? The closer we get to the marked box on the calendar, the more certain I am that I cannot imagine.
These days are characterized by fits and starts -- today: slow lazy waking til I could finally pry my eyes open, a burst of energy for a breakfast trip down the hill for oatmeal and egg sandwiches, a quick errand and then 10:30AM, CRASH -- I passed out on the couch, dragged myself up for food, then got a burst of energy packing boxes of books and going through old photo albums with Edne, until a sudden crash, complete with nausea and gagging, and now a bowl of stuffing (found a box of Stove Top in the back of the cupboard) and some root beer.
Yes, I am eight weeks pregnant with a SURPRISE baby!!!!
We found this out a week to the day before we found out about the DC move. Whew! It's been a lot to absorb. I had my first ultrasound on Wednesday and all looked well, so we told the kids -- instantly bright-faced and beam-y -- that night.
First trimester makes for an interesting and unique time of closing up shop here in California. The blah's, for all their grossness, are keeping me present, making me slow, preventing me from rattling away on DC tasks in my head before I get there. For that I am grateful. The utter exhaustion-to-the-bone hit two days ago, which is once again a game changer.
The kids have spent a lot of time in the yard digging and playing. We are back to dirt and mud. They've also watched more TV than in the past six months combined. Right now they're running through the house with garbage bags, filling them with air like balloons and making "pillows." I'm pretty sure there are suffocation risks. As I sit here, the game's changed to sack races, and now, again, to nesting themselves in their bags on the living room floor, sitting crosslegged and tying the bags around their chests. And so we make it through another day.
I am home with Eden. It's Tuesday, a day when we're normally home. She is coloring and discussing crayons and which could be the color of skin -- orange? white? brown? The cough has been persistent for a day and a half, and she's wheezing, but it's the email I just received that has me waiting. E's friend she played with yesterday spent all night throwing up -- OH MERCY. With all the swirling changes right now, a night of throwing up (or two or three) feels more than bearable.
And we happen to be out of milk, eggs, yogurt and a few other essential foods.
Will she throw up in Trader Joe's? If she does, I probably will too. HA! picturing that now.
Eden is melting into puddles all over the floor. She's colored outside of the line of Ariel's hair so she has red on her forehead -- it's violated her sense of beauty.
It has been weeks of taut waiting, the kind of waiting when your neck is craned looking down the road and all of your attention is captured. Days and days of this.
What we learned on Tuesday is that in a month and a half we will be moving to Washington DC.
Even to write the sentence feels altering. Life is altering.
We have lived here in California for nearly ten years. Though we've known each other for twenty, this is where Ben and I have grown up. We bought our first house here. We had our first baby here, sunny- faced Silas. We had our second baby here, moon-faced Eden with a shock of black hair. We've each nested into a group of friends we lean hard into, whom we tell truths to, whom we need and love. We clear our heads at the side of the ocean. We sit in the park and spill stories, drink tea, paint. We've built a family here, an extended family, a whole life.
And living here we have known motion, constant motion; we've climbed aboard planes often, dragged ourselves through time zones, teared when we've had to leave mother, father, cousins, sisters, brothers, smells of earthy woods, thunderstorms, and the place of childhood again and again.
So much heart pull in this bi-costal love.
And now, for the first time in a decade, we've decided to step out of this constant tug-of-war. Though, of course, we will just be changing the direction of the pull.
I'm having a hard time absorbing the implications of this change. My mind spins with the logistics, school districts, house listings, a departure date -- all of the transitions that lie ahead. I feel giddy, dizzy, wound tightly with to-do's, and unable, yet, to feel the pain of our departure.