We made it. August and I are back at home in Maryland. I miss Spain. I miss my husband. I miss being able to go to the grocery store and buy a bottle of champagne that costs €1.34 and tastes just as great as the overpriced $7 swill I drink at home. I didn’t get a goodbye-churro because I am a fool who waited until the last minute to get one and that last minute happened to be during stupid friggin siesta. So I miss churros a lot. Although I was recently informed that my local cupcakery is making churro cupcakes for Cinco de Mayo and so I will be adding Gorge Myself On Baked Goods to the solo-shame spiral of drinking by myself I already had planned for the evening.
I have earned some poor behavior. Adam tried so hard to make our return trip easier on me. He took a two-hour bus with us to Sevilla, where I at least got my final baguette with cured ham. Then, he flew with us to Madrid. Just thinking of that airport, after almost dying a hundred deaths, still makes my eye twitch. Anyways, he flew with us to Madrid and we stayed the night in a super cute hotel. It had a great bathtub, and I was kind of bummed that we didn’t get there earlier because I could have used a good soak. If I wasn’t so well versed in Spainness, I would have also put the bidet in our bathroom in the Things That Make This Place Fancy column, but now I know everyone has one in Spain. Everyone there must have the sparkliest b-holes, because I am pretty sure there is not a single residence without a space dedicated to power washing your anus.
The next morning, we went back to Madrid airport, where Adam helped us check our bags, and then we said our goodbyes so we could catch flights in opposite directions. Probably not the best place to say goodbye, since I am pretty sure that going through international security while trying to stifle your own sobs is not a great look on anyone, but we made it. The flight back to Newark was easy as pie. August was asleep before we even took off, and napped for a little over an hour.
He spent the rest of the flight watching cartoons on his TV the entire time, and I watched American Hustle and Parks & Rec and some stuff from the Travel Channel that was all about food on mine, and we ate crappy airplane meals. I was forced to break my seatbelt-always rule, because I actually needed to change August’s diaper a few times, and he needed to walk some laps in the aisle here and there to keep his crazy toddler energy in check. But it really was easy. Before we left, I told Adam that I was kind of excited about how easy this was going to be, compared to the trip out. I apparently said this too loud, because the universe heard me.
When we got to Newark, I found out I had to get our luggage from the baggage claim and recheck them again, which I did not think would be the case. So I was once again struggling through an airport, carrying two carry ons, pushing a stroller with a diaper bag on it and toddler in it, and pulling two huge rolling suitcases behind me. After running into several walls because SuperPunk is still in Spain (I’m speculating) and cursing both under my breath and loudly while annunciating, I found out our flight to Baltimore was cancelled. And there were no other flights going to Baltimore that day. Luckily, my house is sort of between BWI and Philadelphia, and so my sister Lindsay said she could pick us up in Philly if we flew there. So I cursed some more trying to get us and all our belongings to another terminal and checked us in, found some food for August and settled in at our gate so that I could feed him and then let him run wild. And then I thought my appendix was bursting.
I don’t know where exactly my appendix is, but anytime I have pain in my side, my mind goes to my appendix. Out of nowhere, I was having very sharp pain in my right side. I couldn’t take more than a shallow breath, or sit up more than 30 degrees without feeling like I was tearing something. So I started crying. An older man sat down near us, and I asked him if he could find someone to help me, because I couldn’t get up. Soon, the Port Authority was hanging out with me and the paramedics were called and all I can think about is how much I want to go to my house and not a hospital and who the hell is going to watch my kid in a hospital? He is not going to sit still much longer.
About a half hour after the pain started, and right before the paramedics came through the GATE (Did they have to run past planes and shit?) the pain in my side completely fades away, as quickly as it came on. So I am trying to tell the man from the Port Authority that I am fine now, I don’t know what happened, but I am fine. I apologize as the paramedics came in, and I start apologizing to them as well, saying I am stupid and don’t know what happened. Everyone was super kind, and I was a giant idiot, and I still don’t know what that was all about. But the man that helped me in the beginning was sitting with me the whole time, trying to get August to laugh and being very kind, and I come to find out he was a Boy Scout. I am married to an Eagle Scout. Ladies, find yourself one of these dorks because they are great in a crisis (or pretend crisis) and know how to tie a shit ton of knots.
He offered to watch our things so I could change August and get us some food and run him around the gate, and I wanted to hug him because this kid of mine had been either strapped in his stroller or strapped in an airplane seat for the last 10-11 hours, and was in desperate need of some free ranging. So I took him out of the stroller and set him loose, following behind as he ran around the gate with his head tossed back, screaming and laughing as if I had just given him the keys to a rocket pony. After a while, he was slowing down enough to walk up to half the people around us and say Hi before continuing on his Tour de Loud.
Our departure time arrived and I was so excited to get on the plane and get home, or closer to home. Then we walked through the gate and outside. Shit. Going outside to board a plane is never good, not for me. Tiny planes do that. And holy crap did I find out we were boarding the oldest bucket on this earth. I have seen paper planes I would put more faith in. This aircraft looked old enough to be my grandma. We got on and I was kicking myself for not stopping at the airport bar.
Upon boarding, I found out that August had reached Peak Mommy, and wanted nothing to do with me. He did, however, want everything to do with an old Spanish couple seated next to us. There was an old man next to August, and little did he know this toddler had chosen him as his new best friend. I would take out books or a toy to try to keep him occupied, and my own son would freak out that I was touching his stuff, take it from me, and then hand it to the old man before snuggling him. I’ve never been in a situation where my kid has forced a stranger to be his babysitter, but here it was happening and I was a little too consumed with terror over this flight to do that much about it. So an elderly couple entertained my child while I tried to tick off the reasons I was too young to die. We finally landed and I have never wanted to kiss disgusting asphalt to badly in my life.
All in all, I did the second leg of that trip way more sober than I should have, but we made it home. After a few nights of god awful jet lag on August’s part, we seem to be back to normal. I still haven’t fully unpacked, and I haven’t had more than six hours of sleep on a good night since we have been home, but it’s good to be back. Now we are just playing a waiting game until Adam gets home. I have managed to schedule enough that we should stay fairly busy and hopefully, this all goes by quick. If not, there’s plenty of $7 champagne to keep my blissfully unaware of my misery.
Stay tuned if you’re going to be traveling with a toddler in the future. My next post will be about what I packed for August and for me that made the trip as easy as it could be, minus all the luggage-hauling and Spanglish-speaking and flight-canceling and paramedicing.