Just a reminder that I’ll be at Bryant Park today (Wednesday) with other memoirists, signing books, running a panel for the Word for Word series. Come stop by, say hi. 12:30pm.
Now, on with it. There’s always this. The thing they do. "They," people who once upon a time ago had children of their own and give their own two cents to your every penny spent. The kids will be fine on the plane, they say. "You’ll see." "Children are happy when their parents are happy." Generally, I’d agree, but when it comes to airlines, nothing is guaranteed, especially not arrival times. That whole "hope for the best, expect the worst" bit is far more accurate than, "It will be fine. Trust me. You always imagine the worst, and you’ll see, it will be fine." That’s just crap.
Our flight to New York is delayed. Of course it is. Nothing normal happens with me. There’s always some story. I give birth, prematurely, with TWINS, and my husband is in New York, and I have to drive myself, in LABOR, to the hospital. There’s always something. So of course our first airplane trip with the twins is no different.
THREE AND A HALF HOURS we’re delayed. No, we’re not at the gate. We’re on the runway. In the plane. And all I can think is, "My breasts. I wonder if there’s still milk in there." "Bad weather in New York," the pilot says over the loudspeaker. We are inside the plane, on the ground, for as long as our scheduled airtime. At least Lucas is asleep. Abigail, however, believes she’s a squeaky toy. One of those cute toys that starts out on an adorable, "oooh, make it do it again" note. You know, the one your friend without kids got you, the one who never thought how grating the repetition of the sounds would become, how you’d start to mimic the voice of the toy, and eventually bash it against the wall, causing Teddy Ruxpin’s voice to retard to a warped stutter. A piercing shrill strip of a scream rips through the air, and the passenger behind us asks for her seat to be reassigned. "Even toward the back, near a bathroom if you have it." She doesn’t have the runs, unless you count running away from a screaming baby as Montezuma’s new revenge. And that’s just it. Revenge. My father did the blasted, "I hope one day you have a child just like you, Stephanie." Abigail had to be held the entire flight. For a good seven hours, she insisted on being held, so she could stand and look out the window. When all was said and not at all done, we found ourselves in bed at 4 am. And it wasn’t the weather that kept us on the ground in Austin. Terrorists at JFK, we learned.
So mostly, I tend to think that we always think it will be far worse than it actually will be. Our imaginations are crueler than reality. Not the case when it comes to JetBlue. Not the case when it comes to traveling with infant twins. I will say this, though. They’re fucking adorable. Abigail is already so feminine. And Lucas is finally coming around, smiling and making sweet lifting little sounds that resemble words. Or sounds that should be words. Abigail rolls onto her stomach and will be crawling in a minute. She weighs a good three pounds less than her older brother, and it shows in the way she throws herself around, along with her temper. But they’re delicious. She looks like a tasty toaster strudel. Lucas might just be a Jimmy Dean sausage.
The day following our arrival in New York, en route to my grandfather’s house, I got into a car accident. I’m fine. The kids are fine. Phil is fine. But that story will have to wait. Until then, come stop by Bryant Park during your lunch hour if you happen to be in this loverly city.