Looking back on the past month, the standouts are simple. A Dad hug for me. A frog legged, pressed-up, pre-crawl for young son. A supported stand. Perma-horsey setting. He's so nearly there, I could explode. If pride is a vice you can call me Miami, buy me a white suit and rev up the convertible.
More. Two long haul flights uninterrupted by baby bleating for three hundred plus BA passengers. Well at least MY baby was bleat free, I can't say the same for the ones who managed to score the cot seats.
I guess not being able to get a cot and getting stuck buying a seat for him was a gargantuan blessing in disguise. Guess those wee bubbas slept like shit in their thin BA travel cots while Rukai chilled in his reclined car seat, his 'command center' set up, Ice Age and Madagascar and Lion King looping on the bubba sized screen in front of him. Oops. So sorry.
Seriously, my son was the perfect passenger. Entirely unaffected by altitude and air pressure. And here I was so worried about the supposed 'structural abnormalities' those thin statistics say he's likely to have in his sinuses and ear canals that I expected full meltdown and expulsions out of both ends. I brought five changes of clothes for him on the outbound. One on the reverse. I need to go write the 'Take your stats and shove them up your ass' song now. I may have just penned the chorus.
So only three hours awake the first go and he was snoring five minutes into the return flight. He woke up when they turned the lights on for breakfast. Oh, and he woke up HAPPY. And then he ate. And then he found the ceiling panel flipping hilarious. That and the magic intercom voice. The turbulence, not so much. The plane dipped and shimmied and his eyes bugged out as if to say whatthehellwasthat while he threw some jazz hands. The first time I thought 'awww'. When he did it again I nearly peed myself laughing. I'm not sure I have cracked the visual there but I wish I had been filming.
The reason for the visit home comes in a far less chirpy version: one life is truly beginning. One is beginning to end. Our year of turmoil has officially been wrapped in a big red bow labeled 'Dad has incurable lung cancer'. So we hopped and we scotched across an ocean for a two week visit which included Rukai's first plane trip, as much grandpa time as we could muster, Dean's cottage cheese and Lou Malnatis and Buona Beef and Portillos and store bought Christmas tchotchkes and here we are back home hoping like hell goodbye wasn't really Goodbye.
It turns and it turns and it turns. My first thought: the problem with life is it ends in death.
My second thought: thank God we went. Dad has seen his grandson doing well. That means everything to me. And that hug will never wash off. Perhaps neither will the tear stains. But I will hold that hug in my heart for the rest of my days. I will hold the conversations in my heart. My Daddy. Please let there be more hugs.
My third thought (and segue with me here): damn, British Airways trolly dollies sure wear a lot of slap on their mugs. Like theatrical pancake. Even the guys. It was like flying Air Madame Tussaud's.
I'm hanging on to thought three because once again that old mom-ism, when you most feel like crying sometimes you just have to laugh. Leave it to our magnificent squidge to provide it.
Despite our heavy hearts we have been wearing perma-smiles because mister bubba has become mini John Wayne, and is stuck on 'horsey' setting. Sit. Flail. Giggle.
I think it may have been the Chicago water. The diesel fume free air. The freak Thanksgiving heatwave. The 48 oz of greek yogurt. The vat of pretzels I bought from Kmart with my cart full of tchotchkes. Ok, maybe not those, those were MINE. But the last two weeks have given us some extraordinary developmental milestones and equal amounts of joy.
If you looked at my life from elsewhere you may say 'damn, you have been delivered a bit of a shit sandwich this year'. And we thought that. And then we look at this amazing kid who just lifts everyone around him and realize that we are staying above it because of him. Because he IS. And we are so blessed by whatever higher power has sent him our way.
We even had security people at the airport gurning at his chubby cheeks and (there's that horsey again) three foot long eyelashes.
Security people. At Heathrow. At O'hare. I was bamboozled. They even forgot to make me taste half his food the second time round. I may never go anywhere without him again.
Ok, a final few standouts.
I now know that our 'ick', or that skin condition is so hereditary that anyone 'practicing medicine' who relates it to DS hereafter can kiss my son's giraffe speckled ass. A wonderful afternoon with family cleared that one up. Not literally but I now have officially scratched that off the is-it-a-symptom-or-not list. Um, thatwouldbeno.
And the real kicker is anyone who's spent a length of time with Rukai over the past couple weeks has seen what we do. And that is nothing. That is 'virtually unaffected'. And that remains a relief. We can keep riding that particular horsey. I'll even shovel the shit and shine up the saddle.