6 hours from Seattle to Honolulu and things were going swimmingly. We’d gotten up at 430am, rode the bus and the train to get to the airport for 645am. Mika was so easy to travel with and here we were in the outside garden at Honolulu airport and I was congratulating myself for such brilliant parenting whilst drafting a blogpost in my head along the lines of ‘how to not only survive being in transit with a 2 year old for 18 hours, but actually love it too’. Of course I should have been suspicious. As we all know by now, just as i’m convinced i’m the best parent in the world, life starts laughing at me.
Just to make it clear though, we did have a very enjoyable 6 hours on a plane and 3 hours in an airport, so a total of 9 hours in transit that were really quite wonderful. I would go into detail about the ‘airplane fun box’ i made for mika (a magidoodle, max’s mud, a woodkin’s dressup doll, tiny books, toy animals etc) but she just played with each one (to make me feel good i’m sure) then asked if i’d brought the ipad. Hmmf. But I wasn’t complaining: we managed 3 hours of quiet play, 1 hour of ipad, 2 hours of gorgeous sleep and then 3 hours of running around a garden. Which meant for me: 3 hours of watching mika play with fun new toys, 3 hours of crosswords and book, and 3 hours of stretching and chasing mika around a garden. WHAT MORE COULD I ASK FOR? 9 hours down, only 9 to go, I’M KILLING IT!
We’re the first to board the big plane in Honolulu, direct to Auckland. Mika runs ahead and finds our seat and i’m putting our bags overhead and she starts throwing up all over our seats. I swoop her up and run her to the toilet, but not before she throws up again in the isle and all down my legs. The flight attendants are on it in a flash, they divert boarding passengers to the other isle, replace our seat cushions and get to work disinfecting everything. Jesus. I clean mika up, calm her down (she’s crying and scared of all the commotion) and then change my own clothes.
I was hoping it was just a random one-time throw up thing, but this turned into the longest 9 hours of my life. Her tiny little body, lying in my lap, naked, sweating, heaving, sleeping, throwing up, and the wonderful attendants collecting our spew bags and bringing us fresh towels and blankets. The lovely doctor on board, who sat with us, eager to dispense advice, and my sudden realisation that our lack of health insurance in the states meant that i was essentially getting a $400 consultation FOR FREE and so hence making the most of it. The exhaustion i’d feel every time mika threw up, feeling the exhaustion of her tiny little body. Not being able to read or watch a movie or fall asleep because mika would throw up on herself and i wanted to catch it in time to sit her up. Counting down NINE hours and realising (painfully) that nine hours is longer than I spend with her one on one over the course of a regular day. Not being able to eat. Not being able to stretch out. Not being able to go to the toilet.
And then the feeling of relief when we landed and the lady at customs not batting an eyelid when she realised i’d only half filled out the immigration forms and when we got through the gate and saw mum and dad and vinny and brooke and they took my bags and we got home and mum bathed mika and i lay down, exhausted and relieved that i was with my parents and relieved that mika was smiling again and relieved that i was stretched out. Waking up and realising it was morning and mika wasn’t next to me or in her crib and opening the door to mum & dad’s room and seeing mika stretched out between them, on a towel with a spew bowl next to her. Seeing Red at brunch and feeling like i am home even though i know i couldn’t live here right now. Watching mika play with her grandparents and uncle and sleeping on grandpa’s lap. Putting on my running shoes and running through a city that i know so well, the air so cold and biting on my lungs compared with seattle right now, and wanting to leap and jump and punch the air for the feeling of gratefulness for space and air and life that one can only feel after sitting for so long with a sick baby on an airplane.
It’s been a trip. And i have to soak it all up because it’s all i can do to stop myself getting anxious about doing it all over again in 11 days.
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