Aspen Princess: Don’t cry over regurgitated milk
The Aspen Princess
Greetings from Southern California, kitty cats!
And so goes my annual “here I am in Encinitas” column and the story about how I lived here 20 years ago and worked at a snowboarding magazine and blah, blah, blah.
So it feels like some kind of milestone to return here with my son in tow, my towheaded, blue-eyed, wide-smiling, giggling, most beautiful in the world child who I get to keep forever, who makes my heart burst at the seams every single day with joy and love.
We had to leave Ryan and Gertie behind, so I flew solo with the babe, thinking that flying direct from Aspen to L.A. would be so easy. And it was, until four planes landed at Sardy Field all at once because of weather delays and the airport was as packed with people as the floor of a rock concert as I’m trying to push my massive stroller through to the gate agent to receive a seat assignment.
I get to the gate and the dude looks at me with dead eyes and says, “I’d love to give you a seat but we don’t have one. We’re looking for volunteers to give up their seats.”
They’re offering $1,200 in airplane tickets to anyone willing to do so, he says.
I raise my arm straight in the air like I did in grade school and say, “Me!”
And he shakes his head, rolls his eyes and says, “You don’t have a seat to give up,” and then tells me not so politely to step aside.
But there is nowhere to step aside to as I make my way through the throngs of angry travelers who are as confused as I am to how United Airlines is asking for 30 volunteers to give up their seats. Thirty! I mean, there can’t be many more than 30 seats on those planes to begin with.
But we eventually get on the plane and it eventually takes off and the babe passes out in my arms as soon as we are airborne, ever the dream child.
He wakes up halfway through the flight, cranky and thirsty. The timing was perfect as the flight attendant is making her way down the aisle taking drink orders.
“Can you please fill his bottle with milk?” I ask. “It doesn’t have to be warm.”
“We don’t have any milk,” she says.
Yes, I’d thought about bringing my own full fat organic milk, but Ryan had suggested I forgo it because it takes forever to get through security with a bottle of milk, since mothers with toddlers are such a security threat.
“You can get him milk and water on the plane,” he’d said.
I glare at the flight attendant and search her expression to decipher if she is lying to me or not.
“You’re telling me you don’t have any milk anywhere on this plane,” I say, picturing a container of milk sitting back there in the little flight attendant zone that they keep hidden so they can make lattes when no one is looking. “Then what do you give people for their coffee?”
I was so on to her.
“We don’t,” she says, opening the drawer to show me the creamers. “This is all we have. This plane is too small for refrigeration so we can’t offer milk.”
“Oh,” I say, conceding defeat. “Well, I guess he’ll have to survive, then.”
It’s not a long flight, and I figure I’ll find some milk when we land at LAX. I probably should know better than to buy it at Carl’s Jr., but after checking three other places I start to feel desperate.
So we’re on the 405 heading south and all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I see the babe vomit. He heaves two or three times just to make sure it gets everywhere and that the car now smells like a dead person. I have to find a place to pull over, which isn’t as easy as it sounds on a California freeway where almost every exit is an on-ramp to another freeway and there are very few side streets.
I finally find an exit that won’t take me veering off in the wrong direction and do my best to get the mess cleaned up with little more at hand than diaper wipes. I try to remain calm and not gag as I attempt to get control of the situation. The baby seems fine, oblivious to how awful the whole scene really is as I sort of flip him around with one arm and clean him and change him with the other.
The memory quickly fades as our trip progresses and the babe gets to meet his surfer aunties one by one. They fuss over him and tell me how beautiful he is and say all the right things. It’s not because they’re being polite or kind or superficial, but because they know what a long journey it’s been for me to get here. They are truly happy for me, and I know that they really, truly love him.
Our first day at the beach he runs to the water’s edge without hesitation and squeals with delight when the waves come and the water envelops his little fat feet. He runs on the firm sand, stopping to examine rocks and twigs and seaweed. He performs for my friends like a trained circus animal, clapping his hands, waving and blowing kisses. I can literally feel my chest expand with pride and inflate as if my feet might leave the ground. I don’t remember ever feeling so happy in my entire life.
So maybe the journey was a little longer and harder than I planned, but once we arrive it’s always worth whatever it took to get here. Plus, I got to learn one of my first lessons as a mother: Don’t cry over regurgitated milk.
The Princess is so excited for Bikram yoga. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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