When did you realize your parents weren’t superhuman? When did they fall from grace? When did their god-like powers dull into yellow armpit stains and human insecurities?
It’s one of the great tragedies of childhood. It’s a moment that pays for psychiatrists’ kids’ tuitions and I’m fairly sure is the basis for movies like “Field of Dreams” and Spike Lee’s “He Got Game.” Thanks Google!
It doesn’t dawn on most people until adulthood. For Elijah and Luca, it occurred Saturday at 4:35pm, 25,000 feet over Puerto Vallarta. When they saw me barf into my vintage Bears hat.
Granted, they should have seen it coming. I tend to barf at least once every beach related vacation. Could’ve been the heat, could’ve been the sun, could’ve been the seafood paella that had been sitting out in the sun and heat.
I know, I know, a lot of you are making that “glug glug” pantomime. But I am on my yearly break from alcohol, so shove it.
I hadn’t been feeling well all day, but I was determined not to spend another moment in that beautiful, friendly, all-inclusive hell-hole. The flight was only 3.5 hours. I could make it, right?
Diana, Luca and Eli occupied the three seats across from me and they were all plugged into their devices when God whispered, “Welcome to the worst day of your life,” into my ear.
Plunk went my stomach and I turned to the back of the plane. My way was blocked by the drink cart.
I immediately regressed to 6 years old and instinct was “Mommy! I need mommy!” I reached across to Diana urgently and made the international sign for “I am barfing now.”
Activity across the aisle slipped into super slow mo as she reached for the barf bag. My only option was to heave into my hat. My favorite Bears hat. Eli and Luca looked on in horror. Their expressions said, “There goes the last lingering respect I have for that man.”
I raced to the back of the plane and told the flight attendant, “I had a widdle accident.” He gave me a club soda and offered the jump seat next to the lavatory. As I sat there, listening to the judging thoughts of the other passengers (“Drunk…Paella eater…”) I wondered if I could open the aft door and leap out of the plane without causing a crash.
Eventually, I crawled back to my seat, or rather my new seat between Diana and Luca. Elijah, who was the man now, sat in my old seat to calm the other passengers. He repeated over and over, “I’m sorry you barfed, father.” Luca simply patted my shoulder in a pitying way.
Later, both boys made sure everyone from the customs agent to our cab driver to the cashier at Wendy’s knew I recently barfed and needed special attention.
I felt much better the next day, but I could tell the boys weren’t convinced. They kept a Bears hat at the ready.