We were in Berkeley for my adored cousin’s wedding, which was thrilling in every respect. His bride is a lovely young woman, and the joy, love, humor, and respect in their relationship lights up every room they are in.
Considerably less thrilling was that Bill got food poisoning, not from the wedding food but rather from an iffy croissant at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. The day after the wedding, I went with Akiva and a few other people to the park so the kids could run around. When I came back into the [groom’s parents’] house, I heard Gideon crying. I rushed upstairs and found him sitting on the floor in the bathroom wailing while poor Bill was communing with the porcelain. A sorry sight indeed.
We’d been scheduled to spend Sunday night in a motel near the airport and then fly back to Boston first thing Monday morning. As the day went on, it became clear that Bill was not going to be able to make that trip. Knowing that the airline would charge us $150 plus the difference in fare for every changed ticket — and that a delay might compromise my ability to vote — made it a pretty easy decision that I’d fly with the two boys as scheduled and Bill would catch up when he could. I was pretty freaked out about it because I’ve never had to fly with both kids on my own, much less for such a long trip when they were already exhausted and overstimulated.
Here starts the list of heroes who helped us.
The groom’s parents let Bill stay in their house, even though they were exhausted from all the hosting and from taking care of the groom’s grandfather (who had been having Alzheimer’s episodes and ended up not coming to the wedding).
The bride and groom offered to meet me at the car rental return at 6 a.m. Monday so that they could help me get the bags, car seats, and children to the check-in area. (At SFO, the car rental return is practically in a different zip code, and you have to take a train to the terminal then go through a maze of hallways to get to the check-in counter.) Luckily a call to the rental car company netted the information that there were luggage carts available for rental right near the return area, allowing the newlyweds not to have to schlep into San Francisco at six on a Monday morning to do fifteen minutes’ worth of a favor!
At the car rental return, one of the agents went searching for a luggage cart for me while I stayed with the kids & our stuff. She brought it directly to the car so I would not have to leave either my kids or my stuff.
The TSA people fast-tracked us and let us keep the luggage cart on the other side. They also didn’t make me take the baby out of the baby carrier.
A gentleman on the plane installed and de-installed Gideon’s car seat for us. He also carried the car seat off the plane and accompanied us to the baggage claim area and waited with us till we secured a cart. Another gentleman on our flight carried the rest of our bags off the plane for us and likewise stayed with us till our cart was loaded.
The flight attendants kept Akiva company when I needed to take Gideon back for a diaper change. They kept an eye on a sleeping Gideon when I needed to take Akiva to the bathroom. They stopped by frequently to see if we needed anything. They gave me free food.
Everywhere we went, it seemed that people went out of their way to be kind to us, to offer a smile and a compliment to the kids (who I must say were magnificent!), and to help me carry things or load things or whatever.
The small things in life can really add up, and I’m grateful for how they added up yesterday. By the way, Bill felt better when he woke up yesterday and caught a later flight home.
We woke up together and have since both voted!