Not being a parent, I can imagine there are a very limited amount of circumstances that a complete stranger can hold their hands out to you, demand you give them your baby and have you comply.
Christmas Eve, on a small plane on a short flight while you’re struggling with your luggage, a baby and a very pregnant wife is one of those times. There I was with Ana Marie on my lap cooing at her while her dad was putting all of the luggage in the overhead bins. Her mom was trying to find a way to get comfortably squeezed into a seat made for a not-eight-months-pregnant-woman.
Once the whole situating was complete it took me a little longer than it should to give back the girl. My friend describes this phenomenon as a side effect of being a Leo. I often go over the appropriate amount of time on hugs, eye-contact and holding strangers’ babies. I don’t know it’s past appropriate until the damage is done. Luckily, I eased the tension by saying things like, “what a pretty baby” and “I bet you’re regretting giving her to me now that I am not giving her back” and “no take backs” and “I will eat her soul.”
Miraculously, the flight to Seattle was not full. After people settled in I asked the flight attendant if it would be okay if I moved up to an open seat that had no one else in the row. “Well, that’s technically an upgrade, but – okay!”she said overly jubilantly. I collected my things and moved up two rows wondering why on Earth anyone would pay more for a mere two rows. But, when I sat down and my knees weren’t touching the seat back in front of me, I understood.
Also, miraculously Delta was going to leave 15 minutes early. Too bad to those suckers who couldn’t get through airport traffic or security quick enough! Normally I would consider leaving early a gift. This day, I couldn’t give a rip, I had a 4 hour layover in Seattle.
At SeaTac I did some yoga, knit a sweater, listened to all the podcasts and entertained my second toddler of the day who found my blue hair fascinating. Her father was chasing her around the airport pretending to apologize while declaring her “curious” – as though this wasn’t evident by the fact that she was 2 and touching everything – but obviously enjoying showing off his child.
Finally it was time to board. The plane to O’ahu was really large, my row number was in the 40’s. I was sitting so far back on this plane that I had to provide the drink service. Our flight crew consisted of a really pleasant and delightful young lady with a flower in her hair contrasted with an angry Mr. Belvedere who seemed to find his joy in speaking lethargically over the intercom to admonish us for going to the bathroom when there was turbulence. I am certain he was slow-talking only to interrupt people’s gratis movies. Like a waitress with perfect timing of asking you how everything is right after you just stuffed a mouthful of food in, my movie would suddenly be paused right in the middle of a grand declaration of love and British Slow Poke Rodriguez would announce that the captain had just turned on the seatbelt sign and that means we need to sit down and actually put on our seatbelts and that he and the crew were told to do the same so it meant to really put on your seatbelt and if we didn’t start behaving better he would turn this thing around and don’t make him have to put his martini down again! It was just like being home for the holidays.
I landed in Hawaii about 45 minutes early. Delta apparently had decided that for Christmas everyone would get to their destinations early. Unfortunately, Delta had not informed the ground crews and there was a mix-up with the gates so we got to sit in the plane on the ground for another half hour getting 5 minute reminders from London-Adolf that we are to remain seated and belted.
Andrew had arrived in O’ahu about 8 hours before me because he’d flown direct. He picked me up at the airport and we sat silently in the car heading to the AirBnB. We had much to share about our travel days but didn’t want to spoil our eventual blogs for each other. His is at andrewberkowitz.com/blog.
Today, being Christmas Day, there isn’t much going on. So, we decided to explore Ka’ena Point State Park. It was about a two and a half mile walk from the parking to the Point. When we first started walking there was a light and pleasant mist.
The other light and pleasant thing were the people. There were very few out at that time and everyone we passed was lovely and kind and wished us a good morning, or a Merry Christmas. It was just like not being home for the holidays.
At the end of the path was a bird preserve with Albatross – they are huge they look like a seagull and Arnold Schwarzenegger mated. There were dozens of them nesting in the sandy grasslands.
Just past the seabird preserves (second favorite only to strawberry) were lava rocks and breaking waves. We even saw a monk seal – which in the lava rocks was like trying to find a sloth in Costa Rica.
Andrew saw the seal first. I kept asking if it was dead because it was really languid. It moved a little bit every once in a while as if to say “don’t worry” and eventually rolled over completely.
After spending the day in the sun and humidity of Hawaii, and a long afternoon nap, I now understand this seal more.