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Thursday August 31, 2006 4:25 am

Missing My Boys on the East Coast

Posted by Monica Edwards Categories: Alijah, Family, Personal, Tommy

Alijah & Andru

Andru and Alijah left for New York Tuesday morning, and I feel like they have been gone an eternity already. This is the longest stretch of time that I will be away from Alijah since he was in the hospital for 11 weeks after he was born 2 1/2 years ago. I don’t know if I can take the withdrawal.

After the harrowing trip all alone with a two year old that has discovered the independence of his own two legs since the last time we flew, they finally made it to their destination after the most awful trip in recorded history. There were moments I imagined that their plane had gone down, or that they were sitting in the airport, disheveled and too tired to move. Andru emailed from the plane that the flight would be delayed for take-off for an hour because of inclement weather in N.Y. but that they could choose to get off the plane as long as they took all their belongings with them. Do these airline pilots not have kids? What are they thinking? After lugging an awkwardly huge carseat, a laptop bag, and a diaper bag, as well as trying to keep a hold of a 2 year old that just wants his freedom, the last thing a parent wants to do is try and maneuver all of that mess off  the plane just to turn around 15 minutes later (because it took 45 minutes just to get off the plane) to get back on the dang thing again. My poor boys, they had only the snacks I had packed for Alijah- a granola bar, raisins, grapes, and a pudding cup to keep sustained.

I believe that there needs to be an uprising- if there is a delay on a flight, the airline should provide food and drinks, or have someone handy to take orders for the parents that are trapped in their seats for the interim. Are you with me?

They land at J.F.K. around 6:10pm N.Y. time, Andru says they are going to baggage, that Alijah fared well during the flight, was mostly delirious and silly but both exhausted. I remind him of the shuttle that is cheaper to take than a cab, (yes, I am known to be thrifty—not cheap) but he says that the luggage is delayed for 30 minutes and that all taxis are full, all shuttles are delayed at least 45 minutes because of the weather, so in waiting for the luggage, they were not able to go and get a bite to eat. Poor, poor babies. I asked him to call me when they were boarding the shuttle, and Andru’s cellphone promptly died, as usual when he needs it the most. I kept myself busy helping my older son Tommy with his homework, well, I had to call his Aunt to help, but that’s helping in a round about sort of way right? Who the heck uses Algebra anymore anyway? It took me about 15 minutes to decipher a word problem before I could even begin to try and solve it, then gave up 10 minutes later, it was just easier to call Aunt Ronnie, the math scholar. I made dinner, trying not to glance at the clock every two minutes, willing the phone to ring. I busied myself editing our many blogs, then used my psychic kinetic powers to make Andru pick up the phone…it was 10pm N.Y. time and still no word from Andru. Oy, the devil in my head was having a heyday dreaming up different scenarios in which harm came to my loved ones. I rebuked him from my thoughts and prayed that my babies were safe.

After an eon, I try calling Andru’s parents house again, for the 5th time, and this time, it is busy. It is around midnight N.Y. time and Andru has just walked in the door. He was calling me the same time I dialed him, we finally hear each others voices and I catch a brief sound of Alijah playing in the background…my heart stops beating 10000 time a minute. What the heck took so long? Everything that could go wrong did it seems. It is humorous writing about it now and I am sure this has cured Andru from ever wanting to travel alone with either kid alone.

After waiting for luggage, he called the shuttle, the driver goes on to explain that they only have 3 passengers in the van when it clearly can hold 5 so he is going to take it upon himself to drive to the other airport, LaGuardia, to see if there are two more passengers he can pick up for the ride to the Bronx, otherwise the trip would not be profitable to him. “WHAT?” Is this even legal? So, he finds two more passengers at LaGuardia, and they are on the way till lo and behold the freaking shuttle van breaks down, in pouring rain. Andru decides he has had enough and takes it upon himself to drag all the luggage, carseat, and Alijah to the train to get home. If you have not traveled on the trains in N.Y., let me tell you, this is a task in itself, trying to carry a huge suitcase, laptop, diaper bag and a ridiculously large carseat onto the train, while grasping your child’s hand in a vise so that he won’t get slammed in the doors while trying to maneuver all of this onto the train.

Then, after the train, he has to take a bus to his destination which itself is 2 blocks away from the bus stop. It is almost midnight and there he is with a 2 year old after traveling about 13 hours with no real food, having to walk up to the house. I asked how he carried all of that plus Alijah and he said “Like a Superman” Sheesh. He said he strapped his laptop bag onto the rolling luggage, had that in one hand, slung the diaper bag over his shoulder, had the humongous car seat in the other hand, and as for Alijah? He instructed him to “hold onto, at all times” either the carseat or the rolling bag. Funny picture, but also sad. It makes my heart twist into knots knowing they had such a hard time. To top it all off, the whole family is in Cape Cod so they left a key for Andru outside under a pot, which pot, he did not know and he said it was pitch black outside, no lights on at the porch so there he was fumbling around, throwing objects trying to find the infamous key. What a night. I tried to express how sorry I was for their ill-fated journey but could not stop feeling sorry for myself because my baby was sooo far away. I told Andru to get settled, find something to eat, and then call me back before going to bed-but I wanted to talk to Alijah first. He gets on the phone and I almost burst into tears while gleefully saying, “Hiii baby” and he promptly says, “BYEEE”, ok, almost yells it as Andru says he is too busy playing with the screen door to care about such matters as my withdrawal pains. I say goodbye and await their call before bedtime.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Andru called me after they had been lying in bed for an hour, and said that Alijah kept calling my name and would not go to sleep. He put him on the phone and it was the most pitifully heartbreaking conversation I have ever had. The tears welled up in the corners of my eyes, but I did not tell Andru, he would have laughed at me. Alijah got on the phone and I could tell he had been crying for a while, and he says in his tired little voice while hyperventilating, “Maaaaaamaaaaaa, (sniff, sniff), MMMMAAAAAAAMAA…” I could feel my heart breaking into a thousand little pieces. He just cried on the phone with me for a bit and I tried to get him to laugh, but he was not having any of it. It was all I could do to not try stretch my arms out like Stretch Armstrong would do, and just wrap my arms around him and tell him that Mama is here, it’s alright. I told Andru, ok, now come home. He thought I was kidding.

I usually don’t write too much about my kids but I am seriously going through what must be the kind of withdrawal that alcoholics or drug addicts have to suffer—I am restless, can’t sleep, can’t help but worry that if Andru does not call me every 2 hours that they must have gotten into some terrible accident on the freeway, knowing how New Yorkers drive (as if each person personally owned the very pavement their car is on, so anyone else on the road better clear the way), or that Alijah discovered the wonders of the city and decided to break free from Andru to run the streets of N.Y. (knew we should have bought a child leash), or the awful thought that maybe Alijah was inadvertently shoved onto the subway tracks by a crazed yuppie shoving himself onto the train when you know that there could not be room enough for him let alone his stupid briefcase that is stuck in the door.

These are the thoughts that dance around in my head as if taunting me. I have a week of these crazy thoughts to entertain myself with. My son Tommy commented so wisely after we dropped the two of them off at the airport, “It’s going to be quiet around here” and I sadly reply, “yes it is” and then he follows with, “too quiet”. This coming from a 12 year old going on 30, who loves his brother but complains about him and his spoiled ways every minute he is around him. If Tommy thinks it will be too quiet, then I deduct that in his own way, he will miss Andru and Alijah also.

I spoke with Andru today and was elated to hear that Alijah was chattering happily about Elmo and Big Bird in the background. It is Andru’s grandmother’s birthday this weekend and almost all of the family has come to N. Y. to surprise her. Family from Paris to Washington. She was very surprised and speechless to see Andru and Alijah as we hinted that a visit would be unlikely this year. We usually try to visit as a family once a year to see Andru’s whole family but this year we decided it was time to visit my father in Puerto Rico as I have not seen him in quite a few years if you don’t count the one day I spent with him at my sister’s wedding two years ago. So I don’t need to say how much we spent on 4 tickets to P.R. but that pretty much blew the budget as far as affording 4 tickets to N.Y.. But it was important for Andru to be there, to see his family and spend some time with all of them, some who have not even met Alijah yet. I am happy for him and the opportunity but am also jealous that I was not there when Andru’s aunt Ellen surprised Alijah with a stuffed Big Bird, (Bid Birrday, as Alijah would say) and Elmo. Andru says he shouted “Bid Birrday, Ellllmmoo” and then paraded each one around the whole room to receive kisses from all 7 family members gathered around. Everyone has to show love to his beloved. I wish I had been there, as he once again got on the phone with me and had a brief conversation at best, “Elmo, Bid Biirday, BYEEEE”. Well, at least I know that he cries my name before he goes to bed. smile

Just got off the phone with Andru and they are back at his parents house after a day with his grandparents, aunt, uncle, brother, and cousins. He told me that Alijah fell and hit his head and is now the owner of a huge lump on his forehead. Grandpa warned everyone that he should not run, but how do you keep a two year old that has one speed (Run at top speed) in his repertoire from running from here to there? You don’t. Alas, Andru took Alijah down to the pharmacy around the corner to ask the pharmacist if he thought it was a bad enough bump to warrant going to the ER. The pharmacist was hesitant in answering, after all, he is a pharmacist…so Andru happens upon paramedics parked outside and walks up and asks their opinion. The paramedics, to their credit, actually checked Alijah out, with a flashlight even, and gave Andru their expert opinion and said that he did not need to go to the ER. See, not all New Yorkers are unfriendly. Thank God. Andru said when he got back to his grandparents apartment, the coffee table was covered in blankets and all the rugs were taped to the floor…bless their hearts. I said when he went to see them again tomorrow or the next day, all the furniture would be moved into the bedroom. What can I say, they love their great-grandson.

Andru assured me that he would keep an eye on Alijah tonight for signs of a concussion and I spoke to Alijah for a minute longer than previous times because how dare I interrupt his play with Elmo and Bid Biirrday. He proceeded to tell me all about his new stuffed friends in elaborate fashion-even raised his voice at one point to announce to me that Elmo had done something to get him all a-flutter. I told him that I loved him very much and missed him terribly, he continued with his Bid Birrday soliloquy and then said, “BYYYEE” in his oh so matter-of-fact voice. I bid farewell to my husband and will look forward to our talk tomorrow. As for tonight, I will sadly smell my babies’ scent on his pillow (pitiful huh?) and wish the days to go by lickety split.

For you naysayers out there who are disgusted when reading about feelings, family, or kids, I say boo to you, this is my blog, if you don’t like it, read a cereal box.



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