This past weekend, the babes and I flew to Pittsburgh. It was an endeavor characterized by a certain amount of starting and re-starting, as we took ourselves to JetBlue, only to be told that our wee a.m. flight had been canceled.
for this I got up at 5.30 a.m.? Grump.
The nice lady behind the desk offered me another flight, which would have us missing our connection in NYC, then a second flight from NY to Pgh, which would have us spending the entire day flying. Hm. Wake up at 5.30 am, catch an 11am flight, then a 5pm connection? Not bloody likely. In response, I offered my best raised eyebrows, and she relented and offered us a direct flight at 1pm. We'd arrive in Pgh only an hour later than expected. Graciously, I accepted.
But then there was security. For those of you wondering, here are the items I was carrying:
EpiPen Jrs (epinephrine auto-injectors)
multiple jars of baby food
sippy cup of water
My diaper bag was politely searched, and the Purell politely confiscated. As I walked away, I passed a number of gel-filled coolers, sitting sadly on a side table. Was it the coolers that were the difficulty? The contents? Either way, someone was in for a long and hungry flight. Nonetheless, my compliments to TSA: like most women, I hate having other people rummage in my bag. I keep a ridiculous quantity of small things in my bag, and they are arranged in areas (near the shoulder strap, near the middle, in the funny corner with the crumpled fabric) such that I can find small fiddly things by touch. This is, of course, an arrangement easily disturbed by hands squirrelling around in my stuff. Even my dear partner does not always remember the cardinal rule: don't open the purse/bag, just pass it to the woman in question and let her do it. And yet the TSA man carefully poked through my bag, and just as carefully, put everything back exactly where it belonged.
Hmm. Wanna bet he's happily married?
Pittsburgh was not at all as I remembered it, possibly because I'd never left the Jewish ghetto-neighbourhood while I lived there. I looked with some appreciation on the children's hospital being built, some trepidation on the grungier and nastier blocks, and with outright awe at the Market Square Giant Eagle. Yowza. A cheese room? Tamarillos? I could've happily moved in and lived in the parking lot.
Home we went, after a familial stop, to where the j.i.c. had begun the slow process of unearthing the bones of an otherwise unassuming house. Under stained ceiling tiles, awful pink walls and grey carpet with mysterious stains, hid a home with long clean lines, soothing strong colors (yes, both of those - I know. But so it is.). The j. of j.i.c pointed to a doorway. 'i. had to rebuild that,' she said casually. I tried to hold my jaw closed, and thought ruefully about hiring handy people. And I'm proud of my ability to grout things? Um, right.
The vision of the j.i.c. awes me. Who would see a lovely home in that dump? Who would have the energy and skills and general willingness to put all of that time and work in. And will that energy survive the wee fellow who joined them, twelve weeks ago? That remains to be seen, but what has survived the advent of wee boy is the gentleness in the relationship of the j.i.c.
The list of hidden truths about babies is long: your stomach will never look quite the same. A variety of firm spots will become less so, some floppy or droopy, and your spouse will learn quickly to proclaim adoration for the change. You will never again finish a novel in one go. Your conversational topics will dwindle, and the nature of poop will be too high on your mental rolodex of topics. Using the bathroom alone will become an opportunity for alone-time. The phrase 'you look great!' will have the silent addition of 'considering...' And the ability to sleep in on Sundays will completely evaporate.
Most of all, however, the relationship between spice will change. When you make the shift from beloveds to legally acknowledged partners, the spousal relationship ups the relationship ante, making the un-hampered socks or the raised toilet seat weightier issues than pre-legal binding. Children raises the stakes even further, leaving you to wonder not only if your spouse will spend the next forty years dropping his socks by the bed, but if he'll teach the kids to leave their laundry lying around, too. Suddenly, minor issues become hanging offenses. Although possibly the whole Judge Jeffries thing is also due in part from chronic lack of sleep...
So how did the j.i.c. sidestep this evolution when they extracted their wee boy?
Now, yes, I know that they were relating in public, in front of an audience bright-eyed with curiosity. But still, over the course of a weekend there was not a major roar at each other. Roars, yes, but the sharpness of a spouse frustrated with a spouse, or directing irritation at a spouse, not so very much.
All of this, however, pales in light of the absolutely fantastic food. The spice could have roared, the baby sung counterpoint, but all I could see was extraordinary, over-stuff myself food - food which I did not prepare, for whose existence I was not the consultant, and glory be, it was extremely good. Blessed be, and I'll be back...