Friday, May 6, 2016

(Ir)rational Fear

I had this dream that my family lived in New York City. We never left the apartment. Well, that's not entirely true. We left as long as wherever we needed to go was within walking distance. We lived like hermits. This was because I had an irrational fear that Matthew would make it onto the subway but the rest of us would not. My precious seven-year-old baby would be doomed to ride the subway alone for the rest of his life and we would never be reunited.

Never mind taxis. They never came in to play in this nighttime reverie. It was as though they'd never been invented. Or, at least, it was as though I couldn't afford to ride in one. Fact. And truth.

In this dream, I finally decided (after briefing the kids on exactly what to do if we got separated) to take them for an excursion. This was because I really wanted to walk around The Village and I really wanted a Magnolia cupcake.

Fact. And truth. I always want a Magnolia cupcake. I live my life with the constant underlying craving for them. Not to make light of actual addiction but I feel like this is what recovering addicts must feel like. I mean, they have it much, much worse, to be sure. But I am living with the constant notion that I just really need a Magnolia cupcake.

Anyway, the day was beautiful and Troy was at work (I don't know what kind of work he was doing in NYC but he was off doing it) and I took the boys to wander around Greenwich Village and eat cupcakes. I woke up nostalgic for the city and, also, craving a cupcake even more than normal.

This led me to wonder how many moms have this fear of losing their children in New York. How many of them lie awake at night worried that the next morning will be the day that little Brooklyn or Bronx or Hudson or Chelsea will get on the subway without her. Or, the reverse horror, that she will get on the subway and aforementioned New York theme named child will stand on the platform, blinking, as mommy rides away.

And then I remembered that I thought I lost Troy in a foreign country.

There we were, exhausted from flying from Salt Lake City to Tel Aviv. I had thrown up all day (or night) on the plane (it's hard to know when you're over international waters and the sun is up but it's midnight where you're from). I was at the very beginning of what would turn into the worst sinus infection I've ever had. We were taking a train and then a taxi to our hotel just off the crystal waters of the Mediterranean.

Troy was carrying 17 tons of canned chicken in an army bag.

Our tour guide had asked us to bring over a bunch of chicken for our group's lunches on account of chicken being $6000 dollars a can cheaper than it is in Israel. So, along with his luggage, Troy was toting an enormous amount of chicken on his back.

As the train pulled up, the kids and I hopped on. Troy began to toss luggage in to us. People piled in and suddenly, he was out of view. The doors closed and the train pulled away. My senses were overloaded. I still felt like vomit--both as something I needed to do as well as a general description of my countenance. I was so tired I felt like I'd been inserted into a cartoon where everything around me was happening in real time but I was, somehow, in slow motion. I had both children, one of which was only four, a heap of luggage (but, thankfully, not the 17 tons of chicken), and no husband.

Also, I don't speak Hebrew or Arabic.

Thankfully, most of them do speak English.

I had no idea if Troy had gotten on the train. I had no idea how long it would be before another train came along. I had no idea how I was getting both boys and all of our luggage off the train by myself at the appropriate stop before the doors closed and the train took off again.

I tried to logically form a plan. But I was exhausted. And also afraid that I was going to throw up on a whole bunch of people in a foreign country. Do I throw the kids off first or the luggage?

"Where's daddy?" the oldest asked.

I didn't have an answer.

When the train came to a stop, the doors opened and Troy stood waiting for me. He'd hopped into another car, hopped out with his chicken bag when the train stopped, and was standing there, my night in shining armor, telling me to hand him the luggage. I handed him bags and kids and we were all safely reunited. We worked together like a well oiled machine. Even if one of the major machine parts was disheveled and probably smelled like barf.

And so, perhaps my fear of losing Matthew on a subway isn't completely irrational. Although, likely, I would never be in New York City heaving around 17 tons of chicken.


  1. You had me at Magnolia cupcakes!

    And to improve your life immensely, I must inform you that they have a location in Chicago - much less dangerous than NYC!

  2. That is good to know. Although I've never found an NYC Magnolia cupcake to be particularly dangerous. ;-)