It was impossible for anyone in the crowded Sea-Tac airport bathroom not to hear the hilarious and adorable conversation between a mother and her little guy yesterday, but even so, I was particularly focused on them because after five days away from my family, I was feeling the ache – missing them.
One day away is heavenly, a little break that’s really as good for the kids and hubs as it is for me. Two days apart and I miss the sounds, sights and smells of home, (including the smell of their rotten breath when I wake them up in the morning with my intrusive and annoying habit of mauling them) but I'm still good. I define "good" as having a quick phone check in to hear their voices. Three days gone and suddenly it doesn’t feel like they are real anymore. Did I dream them up? I can’t stop looking at the little boy and his mom in the bathroom. I'm sure I look like a goddamn creeper.
The mom asked her little guy if he had to go potty, telling him that once he’s on the airplane, it will be a lot less convenient. She explains it to him, but he’s not hearing a word. He’s too busy leaping around the bathroom. I’m guessing he was about four years old? And the mom in me guessed that the squirming and leaping meant that he did have to go potty. Moms, you know what I'm talking about here, right? But the wee fella wouldn’t budge. He said that he did NOT have to go potty. No. No. No. His mom cocked her head to the side and asked him if he was absolutely sure he didn’t have to make poops. And then a little grin slid across his face.
“I can’t wait to make a poopy up in the clouds, Momma!” he squeals, admitting that he’s going to hold on to his butt bomb just awhile longer so that he can have the experience of pooping on the plane.
“IT'S GONNA BE AWESOME,” he yells, jumping up and down a few times while clapping his hands. “It IS pretty cool to poop in the sky,” she giggles and gives him a high five.
The achy feelings about my family were no longer dull and intermittent. Watching the two of them get excited about his first poop in the clouds made my heart hurt. I’m not a big fan of flying, but I could not wait to get on the damn plane.
I call home and they are all too busy to chitchat with me, as usual, off and running with friends or just doing their thing. My absence is felt, but aside from a little change in routine, it’s no big deal that I’m gone. They know exactly when I’ll be home again. “Yeah Mom, I love you too. Miss you too. See you in X days,” they say each time I call to check in. Yeah, they count the days, but they have their dad, the dogs and they are surrounded by all the stuff that makes their life real and they humor me with a few minutes on the phone, not because they need to hear my voice, but because they know I need to hear theirs. I’ve told them this, so it’s basically guilt that brings them to the phone.
And I’m perfectly okay with this. Guilt is one of the most powerful tools in the parenting toolbox, amiright?
I wish I were on the same flight as the enthusiastic little boy and his goofy mom. I’m sure he was grinning ear to ear as he pinched a loaf at 30,000 feet. I thought about them after a few hours in the air and I had to go to the bathroom. It is sort of cool if you really think about it. A whole bunch of human beings, eating, drinking, reading, pooping, watching a movie or working while smashed together in a giant, metal machine that flies through the sky at hundreds of miles an hour over hundreds of thousands of people, who are not exactly oblivious to this, but most of them are not likely paying a speck of attention to the sights and sounds in the sky above.
When I said that I’m not a big fan of flying, I was actually understating my feelings about air travel: I hate it. I hate taking off, I hate that my head feels like it’s going to explode and there’s no way to sit crisscross applesauce on the airplane seat, as I like to do. Airplanes and stinky and uncomfortable and even though I know that from a statistical standpoint, I am much less likely to die in a plane crash than a car crash, flying scares the shit out of me. Literally. I always poop on airplanes. Travel belly, you know.
But yesterday’s flight was actually enjoyable. Not counting the things I said I loathe about the experience, yesterday there were some very specific things to love. The A, #1, first place thing was the simple fact that I was going home. Home. Home to my people, the ones that I love and love me too! I flew away toward people who like me and like my blog and book and think I’m swell and purposely came to see me. That is so cool and I’m still shocked and grateful. I'll never stop being amazed and dorking out about the whole experience, but I know what really matters in the long run.
Do I want to share my blog, book and blathering? Hell yes. I love writing and connecting and helping people embrace the crazy through my words and whacked out version of wisdom. But I realize their feelings for me are temporary and superficial compared to their feelings for their loved ones. My words, I am told, help them love themselves their loved ones more. My words help them understand. My words give them laughs and perspective.
And that’s what the airplane ride did for me yesterday. It gave me perspective. Thousands of strangers, me being one of the strangest, all going somewhere, hopefully toward someone or something they love, each of us important to someone else, even if to each other we were just warm bodies to bump into in the bathroom or to sit next to on the flight.
Am I proud and appreciative that my book has enjoyed such a good reception and through my writing I have met people who I have come to love? Hell yes. But I also know that this too shall pass, like a big poopy, and the most important thing I have taken from this exciting, mind blowing, positive experience is this –
And I've learned that I am really proud of the people I wrote about in my book, so very proud to have such great people in my life. I have people to love and they love me. I’m so thankful to have stories to share, even if some of them are sad and made people cry (I’m talking to you Mamacon Seattle ladies). I came home to an exhausted husband snuffling back snot because his allergies are horrible, yet he mowed the lawn and fixed the fence. The house is a SHITHOLE. I repeat – A SHITHOLE. But it was a shithole when I left. My "Crotchfruit" kids were asleep, but I kissed their sweaty heads and inhaled their scent. They smelled like life. My life.
Thank you for letting me share my life. Thank you for sharing yours with me.
As the summer rolls along, I’ll be here and there promoting the book that is my life while writing another collection of humorous essays about the whacked out world we all live in where people are pooping in the clouds above us right fucking now.
Info on buying my book and coming to hear me speak and sign it can be found here on my blog. Look to the right. You can do it. Next up? Printer's Row Literary Festival in Chicago, Illinois on June 9th from 12:15 to 1pm. I'll stay as long as I'm wanted to meet you and sign your book and of course we can find somewhere to get a drink-poo, but you do need tickets to the event. You can get them by clicking HERE.
Hope to see some of you there. I recommend trying to poop before you go, as I don't know what kind of poop facilities will be available.