Go, go, go! Let’s not go
SUNDAY, December 20 – Yesterday Eamonn decided which clothes to take on our trip: a small pile on the dining room floor consisting of a few shirts, jeans, and underwear. A bathrobe and his blanket also go into the suitcase. He’s taking some books and his iPod Touch on board with him as well as blank pages to draw on.
This morning he was the first one up and dressed, while Sander claimed he was too sleepy and too busy to give me a hand. While I stuffed items into the suitcase, Eamonn ran to the corner to mail some letters and then back home again. ‘Since the faster you run, the sooner we’ll be in the States.’
He was sitting on the front steps waiting for the taxi, while I was still wrestling with the last suitcase. They say that women always take more with them than men. Jennifer certainly didn’t, but the empty space in our third suitcase is suspicious. I’ve probably forgotten something important, but we’ll worry about that when we get to the States.
We arrived at Schiphol Airport in plenty of time. Once there, I had to take the taxi driver to task for his driving: not once but twice he kept going even though there were pedestrians trying to cross. I also told him why. He wasn’t impressed. There were long lines at the check-in desk, but we made it onto the plane, which was overbooked. Eamonn had run all the way to passport control.
Once we’d gone through security, Eamonn couldn’t wait to board. Only a few minutes late, the doors closed and I looked at my children with anticipation. Sander on the aisle, Eamonn next to the window, and me in the middle. ‘Seven hours and fifty minutes, and then we’ll be landing, guys. Isn’t this fun?’
Eamonn was looking out the window. When I leaned over his shoulder, I got the fright of my life. He was crying his eyes out. Not making any sound. I put my head cautiously on his left shoulder blade, pushed my hand under his elbow and took hold of his fingers. Gently I rubbed his palm and planted a kiss on his hair.
After a few minutes he turned to me: ‘Papa, can’t we stay home? I don’t really feel like going to America.’
Ten minutes later, his grief had evaporated. That’s how fast things can change when you’re dealing with children, I think to myself. Usually to my relief, but occasionally in exasperation. You’ve just opened a conversation with a bit of depth and they can’t wait to switch to some stupid video game. Like after this crying bout he decided that the first thing he was going to do at Grandpa and Grandma’s was to shovel the snow from their driveway.