Pilgrimage to the Motherland (day one)

I awoke on my own at 3:30.  I knew if I forced myself to go back to sleep that 4am would be murder.  Anyway, I knew I had more to do than my husband did, so I started on my list.  The timing was perfect and I was dressed, and packed, and had changed Guy Smiley and fed him by the time I had to wake Little Red, dress him, and load him in the car.  Guy Smiley knew something was different and kicked happily, then waited patiently for the excitement.  Little Red, poor thing, said, “no, I want to go to sleep” and we promised him that if he’d just let us get him changed that he could go back to sleep in the car, at the airport, on the plane, and then again in Grandad’s van.

It takes hardly more than 20 minutes to get to LAX with no traffic (barely more than it takes to get to the Burbank airport during normal traffic — but I chose the LAX flights as they were direct and I was travelling internationally with two little boys and no husband) so we made good time.  I thought Paul was going to drop us off and go home and take a nap before work, but he parked the car and followed us in. 

I thought Paul was going to drop us off at the airline’s check-in and then go home and take a nap, but just as I thought he was leaving he asked for an escort pass.

I thought Paul was going to see us through security (where they strip me of all my survival techniques: Little Red’s monkey backpack with a tail/leash for me to hold, and the sling holding Guy Smiley) and then go home and take a nap, but he walked us down to the gate.

He stayed until we boarded.  I was worried how he’d do at work, but grateful for the extra help and the opportunity to go to the washroom one last time before I really was on my own.

The boys were so wonderful.  They were good in the airport, and even better (if possible) on the plane.  I didn’t have to nurse Guy Smiley during takeoff and landing and he was sleeping during the one and playing during the other and his ears didn’t seem to bother him.  I didn’t even have to get out Little Red’s toys until two thirds of the way through the flight.

The lady in the seat beside me was very kind and very helpful and reaching things and getting my bag for me.  The flight attendants were smitten by my boys and made many extra trips.  One asked me if she could get my diaper bag from the overhead bin when we had reached cruising altitude but the fasten seatbelt sign had not yet been turned off (we were sitting in the bulkhead row which meant no storage under the seat in front, but more leg room!)  Another offered to hold/watch one of the boys when we went back to the washrooms (but as both needed to be tended I declined, grateful for the offer.)  And while there’s very little “service” during flights anymore I think we got extra cookies, we definitely got drinks with no ice without me even realizing it would be potentially messy for Little Red, and the boys each got plastic pilot wings with a sticker on the back that say “I Fly Alaska Air.”

After we disembarked the plane and started the walk through the beautiful international terminal, I noticed people taking pictures of our plane through the glass.  Of course I didn’t have my camera handy, but I had to laugh.  Of all the Alaska Air planes in the world, ours was not the plain white with black lettering and Eskimo, ours was boldly painted with Tinkerbell on the tail.

Going through customs was most uneventful.  I had scribbled on the agriculture portion of my form because I thought we were bringing some peaches into the country, but Little Red suddenly decided to finish eating them so I changed my answer.  I declared it immediately so nothing looked fishy.  The agent asked if I had left the pit on the plane and I replied I had sliced the peaches that morning and that the pits were in LA.  Apparently the pits of the peaches are the only concern.  I presented all the documentation I knew he wanted before he asked for each paper.  He did raise his eyebrown when I gave him my Canadian birth certificate and not my passport.  Before he asked, I said, “my passport is still in the Gatineau office.”  He only required my driver’s license for photographic evidence than I am the person in the birth certificate, but he queeried, “how did they let you on the plane?” knowing how stringent things have been on the US side.  I replied that the law requires that a green card suffices for permanent residents.

Nice lady from plane helped me balance the car seats and luggage on the carts until we got out of international arrivals and met up with Dad and Liz (who were both relieved to wake up in the morning knowing that I was already on the plane and had not left a frantic message on the machine that I wasn’t going to make it.)

My Dad’s parents came in on a flight less than an hour after we landed, and we all met up back at the house.  The boys and I were pooped (Little Red never did go back to sleep after we woke him up at 4) so we napped the afternoon away.  My two brothers came over for supper with a girlfriend in tow and we had a great reunion, everyone finally meeting my sons.

I missed my husband, of course, but I was rested, happy, with my family, and in Canada.  It was a great day.

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