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Monday, January 25, 2010  

Grouse of the Rising Sun

M. Edium's been showing rather an existential bent lately. A few weeks ago, when we were driving through an unfamiliar neighborhood, he suddenly asked me, "Is this a dream?"

I told him no, this was really happening.

He asked me the same question last weekend when we were driving to a birthday party in Wisconsin. I gave him the same answer. And then he was asleep in his car seat within five minutes, so I realized that maybe the question had a more immediate significance than I thought.

He and I went to Florida for a few days this last week. Looking forward to it has helped him avoid post-holiday letdown. Unfortunately our flight was at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Despite his excitement, I thought it would take some doing to get him up at four in the morning, but when I went in there and whispered into his sleeping ear, "Are you ready to go to Florida?" he was out of that bed like he was spring-loaded.

Still, I think the early hour was telling on him a little bit. As we were pulling onto the freeway to the airport, he asked, "Is this a movie?" Which is a slight variation from the previous two iterations, but we assured him this was really happening. He was really going to Florida.

He was my dream all through the airport, even security, staying close and obedient. More so than my wheeled suitcase, in fact. We got on the plane and took off into a black sky. The layer of clouds we ascended through was low and opaque, but so thin that from above, patches of it glowed, lit by the clusters of light below. I've never seen anything like it. M. Edium, grizzled air travel veteran that he is, didn't seem impressed, this being his fourth plane trip.

We were changing planes in Milwaukee, so I didn't want to unpack his DVD player for what would probably be about forty minutes at cruising altitude. Instead I distracted him with his books and stuffed animals, and with the impending sunrise in the east when the first signs of it became visible.

Big mistake, that last one. "I want Mom here," he declared, and launched into a full-on crying jag.

It didn't take me long to figure out what had happened. He'd woken up in his clothes, been bundled into the car, ridden to the airport, left his coat behind in his mom's car, and walked onto a plane, all in conditions indistinguishable from the dead of night. No wonder he thought he was dreaming. But then he saw that sunrise coming, and suddenly it was real. He was awake, and time was passing, and miles were racking up between him and his mom every second. And as far as he knew, he'd only dreamed kissing her goodbye, and we know how he handles thinking he missed that.

I tried to settle him down as best I could, thinking of my fellow passengers. My only comfort was that from more than a couple of rows away, a crying five-year-old sounds just like a crying two-year-old. Although nobody expects a two-year-old to order his dad to call his mom on his cell phone and tell her to be in Milwaukee by the time we land.

He got over it after a few minutes, but it wouldn't be accurate to say he forgot it. A bit later, as the whole sky was getting light, a passing flight attendant saw him looking out the window and asked, "Is that sky pink or peach?" With his typical heartbreaking honesty, M. Edium said, "Pink, but it made me cry because it made me miss my mom."

"Aw," the flight attendant said, and continued up the aisle. I think that was when she figured out the crying toddler she'd heard earlier in the flight was actually a crying five-year-old. Those don't get nearly as much sympathy.

When we landed in Fort Myers a few hours later and were still taxiing to the gate, the passengers around us chuckled adoringly as they heard him yelling at her through my cell phone such cute-icisms as "LOVE YOU MOM" and "I MISSED YOU WHEN THE SUN CAME UP" and "I'M KISSING THE PHONE." Then they all told him how cute and what a good traveler he was.

Obviously those weren't the same passengers who had been sitting near us when he melted down over Eau Claire.

posted by M. Giant 8:31 AM 1 comments


Awwwwwwwww. I hope my daughter misses me as much when she is M.Edium's age! And that my husband is the one who has to deal with it. He he he.

By Blogger Stacey, at January 25, 2010 at 10:20 AM  

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