Our "vacation" ended with a symbolic banana bang. Toddler, Baby and I waited on a convenient little bench at Laguardia's baggage claim while Husband heroically wrestled suitcases and carseats off that slow-spinning luggage belt. Toddler decided that it was the perfect moment for story time, so she reached into one of our myriad carry-ons to find her Diego bug book. When she handed it to me to read, I noticed that it was rather slick and smelly.
Me: "Something spilled."
Toddler: "Uh oh, Mommy."
Baby: "Aaaaaah-Daaaaah" [Translation: "Daddy," or more likely "Give me a Cheerio."]
Dutifully, I popped a Cheerio into Baby's mouth and told her Daddy would be with us soon and I examined the bag wherein something mysterious and stinky spilled. Nothing like the blind reach-in and feel-around. I stifled my scream. Because for goodness sake, there were kids around. My kids. And this is what we parents do, right? We pretend all is A-OK.
But all was not A-OK. No. When I removed my hand from the bag, it was covered in blackened, rotten, liquefied banana. Even Baby cringed and screeched in disgust. (Or, more likely, she wanted another Cheerio). So, we had made it through our ten days of travel without an episode of bona fide vomit (yes, there was the grocery-store-Baby-spitting-up-in-my-mouth-episode but that is for another post) and there we were within an hour from home and something, something gross and random and metaphorical, just had to happen, right?
I gathered bits and pieces of the mashed banana remains from the bag, told my babies everything was okay. I told Toddler her book would dry. I kept the Cheerios coming to keep Baby, well, Cheer-i-o.
And in the taxi on the way home, I once more served as the trademark (and now banana-slicked) mommy meat sandwiched between my two exhausted girls. And as we sped toward home, I kept sniffing my sticky, rotten hands, challenging myself not to gag.
When did "vacation" become something utterly deserving of scare quotes? When did "vacation" become something to survive? I've always been genuinely irritated by people who say those painfully platitudinous words, "After that vacation, I need a vacation!" But I am now officially one of them. And now I will utter those cliched, annoying words: I. NEED. A. VACATION.
Don't think you are getting off that easy... Stay tuned for some highlights from our actually-quite-wonderful-given-my-current-propensity-to-focus-on-a-lone-liquid-banana-trip...