Each week, another church…usually 3 different ones. He was tired of everyone looking, poking, hugging, and laughing at him. Why was it always funny when he stood up?
Giggles erupted, his face reddened.
How could folks not giggle at him….he’s so darn cute.
We threw together a quick party for him on the last Saturday we were Stateside. Surrounded by my family to watch the season opener, we sang, ate a big cookie with an Alabama “A” on it, and he opened gifts and cards containing green paper. – “That’s done.” I thought. “Mark that off my Mommy to-do list”.
The next few days were filled with much stress. Packing, repacking, unpacking, packing again. What goes back to Portugal? What stays. Do we have room? How much does this weigh? What is most important right now? Pictures of my childood, or pictures when all the girls were babies? Both can’t go…..
Justice played, watched American cartoons and enjoyed the last minute attention from grandparents. All the while counting down in his head….thinking…..”on the plane will be my birthday!”
We arrived at the airport in a whirlwind of last minute plans coming together.
Is Bro. Calvin here? He’s supposed to take our van.
Where is Pawpaw supposed to meet us? We can’t go through security yet, he’s not here.
Gramps and Toni made it. Gramps is never late. (Like his oldest son)
Do any of our trunks weigh more than 50 pounds? “Lord, please no….I want everything that’s in them!”
Oh look, Bro. David came to say bye…but we’re already in the security line. Run, leave bags, quick hug.
Inconsiderate people. Only concerned about themselves. Not offering to help a family of 7 with stuffed carry-ons, and help 5 kids remove their laced up, double knotted tennis shoes. They pass us by in a huff….
“Patience, Nina……we don’t have to do this for another 3-4 years.”
Security alarm goes crazy….I look up…Lib is standing, eyes wide…..”What did I do?” She, my ‘collector of little things’ has an old, worn out cell phone in her pocket….Daddy takes it out roughly, tossing it into a tote going down the belt…frustrated….Lib gets a tounge lashing.
Justice still thinking….”It’s about to be my birthday!”
We get on the first of three planes.
“Where is everyone sitting? Who’s scared? Who’s more scared and needs Mom or Dad next to them? She got a window seat last time! That HAS to go under the seat in front of you, for the 6th time! My stomach feels queasy and nervous. Did you even eat breakfast? I left my picture at Mimi’s! I’m SO ready to be home….”
These are random phrases floating through the air of the 4 rows our family takes up…..
We take off and I try to leave my stress and anxiety on the runway as we ascend.
The seat belt light goes off…..Justice looks at me…..”Mom, is it my birthday now?”
“Not yet” I tell him. “On the next plane, the really big plane that takes us over the Atlantic ocean. On that plane you will turn 5!” I try to sound excited for him. My head pounding.
5 Hours later……..
On the big plane, he sits in the row behind me. With his biggest sister, surely she can handle him and let Mom and Dad sit together. The flight attendant arrives, “Um, excuse me mam (In terrible English) “you have to stop your son from pushing the call button. He keeps calling the flight attendants.”
Deep sigh…defeated……”Come up here son…sit with me.”
He’s seated, buckled, playing his new video game. I start dozing off…..
“Mom…..Mom….(poking me)…Is it my birthday now!?!”
I look at my watch, foggy headed trying to think what timezone we were in….”Yes, son. In Portugal, it’s your birthday.”
Anticipation in his eyes, he starts looking around. Almost in a panic.
Then it dawns on me…
He was expecting a PARTY on the airplane.
Exhausted I explain that’s not what I meant and not what his Daddy meant everytime he heard his Daddy tell churches that he was going to turn 5 on the airplane.
Brows furrowed, he frowns.
“You are NOT the nice Mommy right now.” he says…..
At that point, I didn’t care.
I giggled, kissed his head and went to sleep.