We’d left Bonanza at home
Troy Media – By Kelly McKenzie
My fingers clutch the steering wheel in utter disbelief since In was running late to catch a ferry.
I’ve just gleaned we’ve left an important piece of luggage in our driveway: my overnight bag. Affectionately referred to as the “bee bag” due to its yellow and black striping, it harbours my wallet, cash and credit cards; items rather crucial to our travel plans.
With racing heart, I impatiently yank the wheel toward home. My mind battles murderous and frantic thoughts. How could Meredith, my 17 year old in charge of loading, forget to load the most important thing? If we miss that ferry, heads will roll.
What if someone pinches it? Cognizant of my desperate mood, the passengers, Meredith and her 15-year-old brother Henry, are deathly quiet on the manic race home.
This wasn’t the first time
As our car finally noses into the driveway there’s a collective sigh of relief. It’s still there; Meredith will live to see another day.
I should be used to this. It isn’t the first time we’ve managed to leave something precious behind.
The first incident took place in 1997. Just months after the death of my husband, Meredith (then three) and Henry (one and a half) and I travelled down to New Zealand on the invitation of dear friends. Grateful for the diversion we went for two months.
As it was smack in the middle of the busy Spring Break, we were forced to take the “milk run” route to Auckland. Flying through Los Angeles, Honolulu and Nadi, our journey took about 24 hours. No worries, though. My carry-on was organized with books, treats, snacks, wipes, diapers, clothing and toys.
After taking advantage of the pre-boarding option offered to “parents travelling with infants and young children,” I settled my two travelling companions into their seats for the first leg of the journey. Books and snacks were stuffed into the three seat pockets. Toys and diapers were tucked under the seat. Footrests and tray tables were stowed. We were ready.
With the plane taxiing for takeoff, I allowed myself to relax and sink into my seat. Meredith tugged gently on my sleeve. “Mom, I want blankie.” Excuse me? She has it, surely. Unfortunately, my panicked search confirms the worst. We’ve left her blanket in the backseat of my sister’s car.
Horror. Eight thousand miles of blankie-less travel with a blankie-dependent toddler? I won’t survive an hour, much less 24! My attention turned to her brother who was clutching his own blanket close for comfort. An idea spawns. Perhaps, he’ll accept the airline version and I can give his to Meredith?
Fingers crossed, I summon the flight attendant who responded with aplomb. Gently pulling the blanket from my son’s grasp I subbed in the purple, synthetic, static charged airline number. My stout little man smiled in oblivion. Meredith blessedly accepted his on the promise that I would get hers airmailed the minute we land. Crisis averted.
Our family classic and ultimate sin of omission took place two summers ago. The night before we were to depart for a weekend at my sister’s cabin Henry, 14, made an important announcement. “Mom, I’ll look after the rabbit. You needn’t think about her at all.”
This was a huge step forward in the McKenzie household. The transportation of Bonanza, Henry’s four year old rabbit, is not a casual affair. Her dietary needs are strict, meaning we’re required to bring the large, blue plastic bucket of timothy hay pellets and the cumbersome flake of timothy hay, in addition to her travelling crate, cage, cat litter and litter tray. To have someone else look after the organizing and loading of all of this was indeed a welcome treat.
Bonanza left behind
We were up at dawn the next morning as we had a long day ahead of us, what with the two ferries, water taxi and long twisty road in between. While I organized the snacks and my children load the car, Bonanza supervised from her crate on the kitchen table. Finally, after six or seven trips to the car, Henry announced we were ready to roll. Perfect. Leaving now meant there’ll be time for coffee at the ferry terminal.
There was. On arrival Henry scurried into the back to grab his wallet. He froze, pawed at the hay and then scrabbled on top of the suitcases. Something was very wrong. One look and I know. We’d left Bonanza at home.
My fingers clutch the steering wheel in utter disbelief.