J. and the girls dropped me off at the airport Wednesday morning. Wallie coughed the entire way which worried me enough that I made J. pull over at a gas station mini-mart for some water. She has been perpetually sick since we moved back to San Francisco. I hope she is healthy when I return.
When I got out of the car, both girls were in tears. I felt terrible leaving them. I gave them kisses, told them that I loved them, and high-tailed it into the airport not wanting to prolong the agony all around.
I did the airplane security thing, then settled in at the gate to wait (anxiously) for my flight to board. I checked my pocket for Bunny's hair clip. I tucked one of her stripey watermelon barettes into my pocket before I left the house so I could have a tiny reminder of her on my trip. I turned it over and over in my hand and it made me feel less nervous.
I chose to fly Jet Blue to New York because I had read so many good things about them. They did not disappoint. I highly recommend them and not just because they were showing a Top Chef marathon all the way to NY so I got to catch up on my reality TV. The seats are comfy and the service is friendly. They don't serve meals (is that such a big loss?), but it's a stoner's paradise in terms of the free snacks they offer. (Oh, and Bad Kitty: they serve Dunkin' Donuts coffee. You're right. It's good.)
I relaxed a little more the moment I saw that my seat was across the aisle fom a mom traveling with two small children, a 6-and-a-half-year-old boy and a wiggly baby. I instantly felt like I was among my people.
I don’t know if it was karma that brought us together, but I couldn’t contain my smile as I watched her getting her kids settled in their seats. I leaned across the aisle and said, “Hi, I’m a mama. I’ve been there-done that traveling alone with two kids, so if you need any help just let me know. I’m happy to keep an eye on them if you need to go to the bathroom.”
“At home,” I replied, and I noticed my voice just kind of trailed off. I wanted to add "I'm on my first business trip since having kids. I can't believe I used to do this for a living. I'd rather be home."
All in all the flight was pretty uneventful. I managed to get some work done. The horrifying turbulence we experienced as we made our approach into JFK didn't freak me out as much as it does when I have my kids with me.
I stared out the window during the entire taxi ride into Manhattan and forgot about being so far away from home.
I had a delicious dinner at a Turkish restaurant near Times Square with my colleagues, and then we all walked back to the hotel and said our goodnights.
When I got back into my room, I think I spent 15 minutes just staring out the window. Everytime I come to New York, I am blown away by the energy of this city. The lights, the sirens, the noise. It's so cool. When I'm here, I don't miss trees or green. I want to be swallowed up by the crowds and be rendered instantly anonymous. I want to train a telescope on the windows opposite mine and peer into people's lives.
Tomorrow is an early start. I wish I could tell you where my meetings are being held (don't you hate all the teasing?) because it's rad, and people as obsessed with pop culture and I am will realize the pilgrimage that I am making. (Feel free to guess.) If I spot any celebs I will be sure to tell you first.
Julia Roberts' play (you know, the one that's getting the awful reviews?) is playing next door so maybe I'll bump into her. We can swap mom stories.