Hurricane Sandy is to blame. I have to believe that. No, I really do. Because of course, it couldn’t be because this is how people act all the time, right? I want to believe the best about people, but that wasn’t the case at the airport the morning we tried to leave the East Coast before Hurricane Sandy hit. Our original flight was booked for the next day, but we switched our flight. I knew that if we didn’t get out then, on Sunday, we wouldn’t get out before the hurricane hit. Due to the fact that we changed flights, we had to switch to another airport. Yet, even with the last minute change in plans, all that mattered was that we were gonna get out.
We got our bags checked and then got in the über long line for security. K was wonderfully entertained with his toys and was actually listening. He was patient and stood for over an hour without complaining. Then it was our turn to strip down, unload and get everything in the bins for security. Even though we are no strangers to flying, I walked him through the routine. He was primed and ready. And then he “beeped”. They sent him back through to try it again. He “beeped” again. We took off his jacket. He “beeped” again. I checked his pockets, he “beeped” again. The woman who was helping us started to say something when her supervision, who I will refer to as “Jerk”, cut her off and said, “It looks like its his bracelet!” I looked at him and said, “Um, he has been on about 20 flights with that bracelet on and it’s never beeped before. Could we wand him?!”
During this time, two other TSA agents came to help and “Jerk” yelled at them and told them, “They are now a security threat. It’s up to her to figure out what’s wrong. I am not going to risk the safety of all these people in line because of THIS kid.” All I could do is look at him and repeat, “Can you wand him?” He just screamed at me, “No. I ain’t touchin’ HIM!!!! He isn’t coming back on this side again and pose more of a risk. It’s your job to figure out what’s wrong!”
After repeated attempts to get the bracelet off, I stated, “I can’t get his bracelet off. Do you have cutters, nail trimmers or anything so I can get it off? We are going to miss our flight and I need some help!” His simple response was, “I don’t care if you miss you flight lady. I am not here to help you cut off something that poses a threat to the security of this airport. If you can’t get it off, I will have to call a supervisor and they aren’t here this early, so you will have to wait!”
After that, he walked away. K is in tears at this point, I am about 12 seconds from socking this man in the face and it isn’t even 5 AM yet. The woman who was originally trying get o help us, saw my frustration and whispered to me, “Take off his shoes. Sometimes, kid’s shoes have lead in the soles and it can set it off. I don’t think it’s his bracelet.”
I check the time, try one more time to cut off the bracelet and cant and finally just take off his bracelet! K is a mess at this point. He doesn’t now why we are stuck here with all our stuff (ID, money, iPad, computer, phone, plane tickets, etc) all on the other side just sitting there for anyone to take. It’s 440 am and K and I have been up for almost 2 hours at that point. All we want to do is get to our gate and get on the plane. I took them off and he walked right through—no “beeps”!
I proceeded to gather our things, put on our shoes and head strait to “Jerk”. I “thanked” him for being a jerk. Asked for his name and demanded a contact number for his supervisor. I also added, “It must feel good to suck at your job! Have fun living your crappy life. Thanks for making the last moments of our vacation suck! God Bless!”
I understand the need for rules. I know that there are real threats out there. I know that airports need to have rules and regulations. However, what I did need was to have someone look at the situation and say, this 4.5 year old and his mom are probably not that big of a threat. Let’s wand them. Something other than yelling at us, accusing us, demeaning and yelling at his staff—that’s not cool dude! I know the 3 am shift sucks buddy, I get it! But, you have forever left a bad taste in my mouth about the TSA and about Reagan international airport. I feel sad for your “crew” who, obviously know what a jerk you are and have to work for you regardless!
Day 3—I am so thankful for K’s birth mom! I wish I had a photo of her. I can only look at photo upon photo upon photo of women from Tigray and imagine how amazingly beautiful she is! I already know that she is kind and giving. I already know that she has a love that never ceases! Thank you Z for the opportunity and trust that you have given me to raise our son! I will do you proud!
It’s not a secret that I live 3 miles from my job and from K’s school. A few weeks ago, K and I witnessed a horrific accident. We watched as a Toyota 4-runner careened into a moped. Sadly, both K and I watched the whole thing. I immediately pulled over, left K in his car seat and went to the man’s side. I called 911 and did my due diligence in making sure they knew where we were and what was going on. Because he was unconscious, I didn’t move him. With other bystanders and good Samaritans, we checked for a pulse and if he was breathing. Both were barely there, but there none the less.
I stayed with the unconscious rider until the ambulance got there and volunteered to give a police report. While I tried to shield K from the horrors or what was going on with the injured rider, he saw that he wasn’t moving; he saw that the firemen rushing him to the trauma center. He heard them say it and asked me what a trauma center was—I lied. He saw the blood coming from his nose and mouth as he lay there, on the asphalt, motionless.
The next day, we drove that same way and K pointed and said, “That’s where we saw that man die!” I knew I had to change our route home. Since then, we have been taking a different route home. He has asked me why we’re going a new way and I have told him that I want to have a new adventure, but it’s my attempt to curb any future damage to both of us by revisiting the scene each and every day. Maybe I am using K as an excuse. Maybe not. All I know is that I can still envision the accident and how that young boy looked on the pavement. I can only assume that my sweet, precious son is doing the same.
So, for now, we will take the long way home. And it will be our new adventure.
Scene: Hotel bathroom. My mom is bathing K after swimming in the indoor pool
Nana: Are you peeing in the bathtub
K: Awwwww yeah!
Nana: Um, you just pee’d on me!
K: Then move your hand Nana! Geesh, you’re so drama!
Scene: On the train on the way to DC
K: “Step back doors closing” (mimicking the Metro announcer)
Me: Whatcha doin’ Baby?
K: Just helping her out. I bet she’s tired from saying that all the time!
Scene: Prancing around in his underwear after the Bat Mitzvah
K: Hey Grandpa—do we have matching cho-nies???
Grandpa: I don’t know. Maybe
K: Well then drop ‘em and lemme see!
Scene: When the Cantor was singing at the synagogue during the Bat Mitzvah
K: Mama, you didn’t tell me this was a concert!
Scene: On the Metro into the city
K: There sure are a lot of brown people on this train! They are brown just like me! So really, Mommy! So many brown people!