The baby is screaming. Screaming bloody murder. It isn’t even a scream anymore — it sounds like a cat is being tortured. It is a sound that even I, a parent of three children, have never heard before. The middle son is sitting in the row behind them, listening to some kind of kids’ show, and the daughter sits between the two parents, in the row in front, watching the Johnny Depp version of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
What I have figured out from this four-hour flight from hell is that the daughter is only happy about watching this movie if the father is sitting next to her, because for a children’s movie, it is really scary. But the baby only stops screaming if the father is walking him up and down the aisle, or when the mother is playing with him on the floor. But every time the father finally gets the baby to stop screaming while walking him, the daughter turns around and starts yelling for him like there is no one else on the plane. And then the little boy can’t figure out why his headphones aren’t working and he starts looking for his mother, who has finally gotten two minutes to herself to go to the bathroom (that time is almost up because the little girl is yelling for her father again…).
This is fun for me. Why? Because I have no kids on this plane. Actually, it isn’t really fun, because not having kids on the plane means that Phase Four of my life has officially begun.
Phase One is being born and listening to your parents because they are raising you (remember when kids listened to their parents? I think it was some time before the iPhone was invented…). When your father would say, “Go to your room!” you would get up there as quickly as your legs would take you. How many times did you go to bed without dinner? (Oops, might have just been me…) Phase Two is when you graduate from college and start your “independent” life, finding a job or going to graduate school. (Remember when kids did that? Ha ha ha…Oh wait, maybe some kids still do that, just not mine…) Phase Three is having your own family, God willing, and raising them to the best of your ability, and now we come to Phase Four … umm, where have all of my kids gone? (Phase Five is the least pleasant phase so we won’t go into that right now.)
So here I am at Phase Four. I am married to husband #1, who is going to be 50. 50. How am I married to such an older man? Nine years ago I started a blog called, “Holy Crap I’m Gonna be 40.” 40. I thought 40 was tremendously old. And now it is almost 10 years later. Not quite sure where those 10 years went. Phase Four will, God willing, be filled with only good things, but none of them will involve me having to get a babysitter for our boys — but, on the plus side, it means we can go out to dinner and a movie any night or any time we want — well, in theory. Phase Four means not having to do laundry every night of the week. Only having to worry about making dinner for husband #1. Never having a kid call from school to tell me that he forgot his tefillin at home, or his lunch at home. Oy vey, this column is getting depressing. Anyone want to come move in with us?
I did say that I would go back to wedding stuff this week, but the plane ride was filled with too much material. Of course, by the end of the ride, we became friends with the parents of the screaming children because they continued to scream for the eight hours of the connecting flight. Good times all around. A different screaming baby sat in front of us and a petulant almost teenager kept kicking my chair when I put my seat back. So maybe being home without any kids might be a good thing after all.
Naaa. I don’t believe that either.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is celebrating her birthday the day after Halloween (which is her actual birthday). Feel free to send chocolate and gifts.