We are getting on the plane to go home, our long weekend in DC over. Security is less obnoxious here than in Kansas City, and I suppose that’s because no one really expects the terrorists to head for the heartland.
Jessica is being unusually attentive to me this morning. She got up when the alarm went off, and looked through all the drawers in the hotel room to make sure we didn’t leave anything behind, and reminded me to put the lemon drops in my shoulder bag so we could have them on the plane.
I don’t realize why she’s being so cooperative until we’re on the plane. We take off, and she sighs, and her whole body relaxes.
“We did it,” she says.
“Made the plane? I didn’t realize you were worried. We had plenty of time.”
“I mean we took the practice trip.”
“Ah.” A few weeks ago, Jessica tried to convince me that a practice trip to DC would prove that we could travel to Italy without any problems. So we took the trip, but I am not sure I’m convinced.
“We didn’t have any problems.”
“Well, we had a few,” I say. “We got lost. Several times. And I got really upset on Saturday because you couldn’t make up your mind about dinner.”
She considers this.
“That is you,” she finally says. “I didn’t have any problems.”
That is possibly true. I lean my head against the seatback. I am tired, because traveling is always wearing, and traveling with Jessica especially so, since everything has to be explained so much. And she is incapable — no, she is entirely unwilling to rush to catch a train or cross before the light changes. Everything is harder and slower. She seems to think slower is good for me but it makes me nuts.
“We had a good time,” she says, and links her arm with mine.
“We did,” I say. She was engaged and happy the entire time, chatting up strangers and reading the subway map.
I rest my head against her shoulder. “All right,” I say. “We’ll go to Italy.”
She smiles. She is not a child who jumps up and down or squeals with joy, but I know she is happy.
“Mom,” she says. “That is good. But you will have to move.”
I look up at her. “What?”
“Your head. You cannot sleep on my shoulder. There is no sleeping on Jessica.”
“Oh,” I say, and move back to my own space. “I’ll try to remember.”
“You never do,” she says, and gets out the National Geographic. “But I love you anyway.”