2009–Selam, Alex and I arrived back into the US. It was over 24 hours of travel, through which Selam was a trooper–she only got cranky in the last hour. I think I got cranky in the first hour. She did, however, eschew the whole sleeping thing, meaning that by the time we arrived home, she’d been awake for probably 40 hours. Selam and I were held up at customs and immigration, leaving poor Alex and my sister on the other side wondering what the heck was going on. It was in immigration that Selam totally lost it. We were trapped in there, separated from my phone and my laptop–no way to communicate. Nobody would tell me why we were stuck. They were interviewing everyone, and it was clear that some of these folks were in trouble. Officers came and removed some people in handcuffs. I figure my crime was international travel with an exhausted toddler.
We finally got sprung and went out to where my sister and Alex were waiting. We said goodbye to Alex and then my sister took over. I was so exhausted. She got us a cab, got us to the train station, bought tickets, found a redcap to take our bags for us, and did most of this with an enchanted Selam on her hip. When we got to our stop, Christa was there with her vehicle with a car seat in it. Christa brought us to the apartment, and I showed Selam all of the many ways in which her life had just turned upside down. She liked the balloons, did not like the cats. Not a bad batting average for a first day.
Our counters were piled high with groceries that Tiffany had bought for us. Our freezer had dinner in it. Our cats were well fed and reasonably happy, as they’d been getting visited twice a day. Julie fixed us something to eat–from the freezer? I can’t remember. I laid down with Selam so she would fall asleep. Julie went to Target. When I woke up it was morning.
What a blurry, blurry day.
Most of my important days are a blur–a sweeping watercolor of sights and sounds and thoughts. It’s like the world keeps spinning and spinning–a big game ball, until you finally put out your hand and say “stop. here.” And that here is here, where I remember the pink corduroy dress, the bagel on the train, a car with a stack of books from someone else’s three year old, and my sister’s face as she left for Target. I remember the mean guy at customs, Alex’s tote bag swinging as she left us, and the abundance on the counter. Selam was scared. I was scared. The world was spinning, and I just put out my hand and said, “here. Here is home.”