I’m supposed to be napping. I’ts “quiet time” in the house and Ruby is asleep. But I can’t, I can’t stop the gears in my mind…
In the wake of my Fathers death, once everyone was gone, once we all said our goodbyes, The Hubby and I decided that it was time to take a vacation. We actually used to do that before kids, did you know!? We decided on Puerto Vallarta and I was so thrilled to get the heck out of dodge! About 2 days into our trip, we went to this super cool place called El Eden. It’s a tropical garden with beautiful waterfalls everywhere, I think it was The Terminator that was filmed there? We had to rent a Jeep to get up into it, mud covered roads half washed out with 100 foot drops off the side. Needless to say I was almost sick the entire drive up. Heights are not my most favorite thing, in fact, I even have to duck down on a ferris wheel when it hits the top because I am too scared to look around. Can you believe I actually jumped out of an airplane?! Anyway… we went up, swung form branches swam in beautiful pools of warm water and ate fresh, local shrimp. That’s when something seemed off. I felt so sick. It couldn’t have been the 1 beer I drank, and I’d only had bottled water the whole time. What in the world was wrong?!
After we drove down those muddy, steep roads IN THE RAIN albeit, and back to the hotel I told The Hubby I wanted to head over to la tienda to grab a few snacks for our room. He agreed to meet me back in the lobby of the hotel (because, I think truthfully he was a little worried about my Spanish skills). I hurried off to la tienda and promptly asked one of the cashiers “Desculpe, donde esta la prueba para de embarazo?” as I was gesturing to a big tummy and pretending to cradle a baby in my arms. Sign language works way better than words in most situations! I probably butchered the entire question, but I basically was looking for a pregnancy test. I bought 3, just in case one of them was wrong and then put a bunch of “snacks” in the basket to make it look good. The Hubby had gotten nervous and come out to the courtyard to look for me and we hurried back to the room. That’s where I locked myself in the bathroom and peed on ALL 3 tests! Just to make sure. Yup, I was pregnant. Now how would I tell The Hubby? I knew he’d been super anxious to start a family and I knew he’d be excited. The next day, we went on a drive up to Punta De Mita. Absolutely GORGEOUS!!!! I could tell that The Hubby thought something was up when I didn’t go for the 1$ beer special when we were lounging on our chaise chairs at the shore. On our way back to the hotel that night I decided to tell him, right there in the jeep. Nothing special or creative I just blurted it right out “We’re gonna have a baby!”
He stood up in the jeep as we were driving, and with his hands in the air started screaming “WOO HOO!!! We’re gonna have a baby!” I still can’t believe I waited an entire day to tell him.
Somehow on that trip we were invited to one of those time share presentations where they offer you some great gift “just to sit through a 1 hour presentation”, so we signed up. I think we got massages or something. We were still giddy with the news of having a baby and headed out to the presentation. That’s when everything changed, forever.
The first thing that the guy said to us was, “Did you hear, the US was attacked” we looked at each other, then back at him and said “ya, right, this is just some marketing ploy.” (these guys will tell you anything to make a deal) The guy said, “No, see for yourself”, and pointed us to a TV where they were showing the plane hit the first tower. My heart sank, still in disbelief I said “No, this is just some fake video you guys have contrived. I can’t believe you’d stoop this low!” As I grabbed The Hubby to walk out, the man took my had and gave me the remote; he said “Look, go ahead, change the channels. It’s on all of them.” We sat there, in that lobby for nearly an hour before we could pull ourselves away and head back to the hotel. I think the only thing I said to The Hubby was “I’m scared, I want to go home”. Walking through the lobby of the hotel, there were hundreds of people just gathering with blank stares on their faces, no one knew what to do next. Many people were scheduled to leave that day, many more came in to the hotel and with no more rooms available they started camping out in the lobby. Once The Hubby and I were back in our room, we of course tried to get a line out to the US but It took another full day before we could even get through. Our flight (and everyone else’s) was canceled. All I wanted to do was go home, but it wasn’t happening any time soon. The next few days we stayed glued to the TV, almost paralyzed from fear. We tried as many others did to go out and “not think about it” but the topic would always come back to “so, when were you supposed to leave? How are you planning on getting home?” Many talked of renting a large van and traveling through the mainland and up through the border at TJ, but that was a very long drive and we were not even assured that we’d get through since everything we were hearing was that all the borders were closed and all flights were grounded. We felt trapped in paradise.
Here I was, pregnant with my first baby wondering what in the world was going to happen. I was scared and I wasn’t even truly or directly affected by this tragedy. I didn’t loose a loved one, I didn’t know anyone who lost someone or who fought for all those in danger. I was just scared that life as I knew it would never be the same. That’s when I realized that the life we lead here in America is truly blessed, protected and mostly easy and yes, that’s when the Oingo Boingo song started going through my head (I do have a soundtrack to my life in my head, I admit it.) “There’s Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself”, over and, over and, over.
It only took a week, and camping out in the airport for a day until we caught a flight home. We couldn’t hardly take anything back with us except our clothes, they made us throw everything away. I think they were just as scared as we were, I feel for the first pilots that had to fly. I can’t even imagine the anxiety they had. I remember sitting with my heart pounding before take off. NO ONE got up form their seats during the flight home, who cares if you had to pee. We didn’t move. We all cheered and clapped when we landed, we were home. We were relieved.
In the months that followed, I learned to like a president that I formerly hated. I learned to see all people through a different light. I learned to be more patient, even with the redneck that was flying a full size flag from his fifth-wheel. We were all together in this fight. We were united, once again. To this day when Ruby points up at and airplane and says “Pane, mamma”, I remember. Every time I see a plane flying too low, I remember. And of course, every time I’ve flown since, I remember. There was a phenomena for about 2 years after, every time a plane would land, we’d clap. That has since gone but I still think about it more than I realize, it is a huge blip on the story of my life.
This morning at church I think I cried the entire time. They had an awesome 10 year memorial service. We mourned, we cried, we celebrated and most of all we thanked God for bringing us new life out of the ashes. We thanked him for loving us and this great country we are blessed to be born into. Ruben stayed behind to let Tommy watch the second service. He’s old enough to understand now, and he needs to know. I love The Hubby for that.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.