I spent last week in Florida with my husband and our boys, Fred (3 1/2) and Miles (6). I spoke for the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando, and spent a shabbos at the dynamic and very diverse Boca Raton Synagogue, where my friend and study partner Allison “Jew in the City” Josephs and I were the scholars in residence. We flew home the Sunday after Shabbat ended, to make it home for the SAG awards for which our show had been nominated for Best Ensemble. So the flight home was the morning of the awards, getting into LAX just in time for me to get my hair and make-up done and fly out the door.
After six and a half years of never going out and doing anything without the kids (with very few exceptions), my husband and I decided that since this was an early evening event (scheduled for around 4-7 p.m.), we would make our debut as a couple on the red carpet. This would be the very first time my husband joined me to an industry event. He bought a tux, shirt and studs, new shoes, and the plan was perfect. Until it wasn’t…
On the early morning flight home from Florida, with three hours left to the flight, sweet beloved Fred threw up. And when I say “threw up” I mean the kind of throw up that literally looks like he had taken the contents of his stomach from the past three and a half years and thrown those contents up in the air. On the airplane. With three hours to go.
Fred hasn’t thrown up since infancy, and he got really scared. Fortunately we were in the back row of the plane and the stewardess was super nice. I wasn’t seated next to my husband, but the nice woman next to me with a 1-year-old on her lap gladly surrendered her seat and my husband cleaned up the seats while I stripped Fred’s clothes off in the bathroom. Fortunately again (yes, I am trying to set a record of how many times I can say “fortunately” in a story about my 3 1/2-year-old throwing up on an airplane), Miles had a T-shirt layered over a thermal, so he gave Fred his T-shirt (thank you God he didn’t make some 6-year-old fuss about not wanting to share his Star Wars T-shirt) and Fred sat in spaceman underwear and his brother’s T-shirt for the next three hours of throwing up, cleaning up, and that sort of thing.
I was trembling every time I held his tiny shaking body in my arms, worried what the rest of the flight would look like: will this continue? Will he spike a fever? Will he have a seizure from fever? (He is prone to them…) But I also could not stop thinking about how the first time my husband and I planned to go to an event, this was happening. I couldn’t decide if I was more disappointed for myself or him. I took a deep breath to push the panic and fear away, and tried to live in the moment which, to be honest, is not that hard to do when your child is throwing up every 30 minutes or so for three hours on an airplane. And in case you are having trouble picturing your beloved Blossom or Amy Farrah Fowler as I am describing, know that I may be a celebrity, but I’m also a normal mom. And when my kid throws up on me on an airplane, it smells the same as when your kid does.
We landed safely (if covered in a combination of throw up and Virgin airlines disinfectant), and I dodged the paparazzi who, sadly, might have cherished a photo of me and Fred throwing up on me. We made it home with no more throwing up, Fred’s spirits lifted, and he played happily. Our close friend came over, I finished getting made up, Mike slipped on his tux, and we snuck out for a few hours alone to the SAG awards. We checked in a few times at home and all was well. An hour into the awards, though, my husband and I were both feeling the start of the stomach flu, and we could barely eat anything (not even the lovely vegan meal we pre-ordered!).
All of a sudden, I felt something was wrong and had my husband call home immediately. Indeed, Fred had just gotten upset. His tummy hurt. He needed me. I knew it; mother’s intuition, I guess. We kissed my cast mates goodbye and were home in 20 minutes. Fred was okay, but he was very happy to see me as he curled his body into mine and started rubbing my hair between his fingers, which he does when upset or sleepy. He fell asleep in 10 minutes flat on top of my body, literally pinning me to the couch, and we all turned in at 7:15, just about the time the SAG awards finished taping in far off downtown Los Angeles.
It’s good we all fell asleep so early because Fred woke me up to throw up again at 9 p.m., and Miles followed suit and threw up at midnight, 2 a.m., 4 a.m., 4:30 a.m., and 6:30 a.m. He can’t even keep water down yesterday. But Fred is better and my husband and I are on the mend and my outfit from last night got great press. And our show didn’t win, but that’s okay, too.
We had fun, I suppose, me and the husband. But it was the fun of two parents worrying about their boy at home, fighting a stomach flu, and wondering how our lives spilled us out onto the shores of red carpets, paparazzi, vomit, and intuition.
I don’t know what the morals/witty quips are to end this story. But here are my top choices:
1) Men tracht und Gott lacht (We plan, and God laughs).
2) You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find you’ll get what you need.
3) Never question a mother’s intuition.
Now you all know why in the LA Times interview before the broadcast began, after being asked, “What are you going to do if The Big Bang Theory wins?” I simply responded with exactly what I had to do last night, win or no win: I went to sleep. Award or no award, that’s how this mama’s day ends: kids cuddled up next to me, me doing the only job that requires no hair, no make-up, and no training. Just do your best, take a deep breath, follow your intuition and hang on tight. And bring along disinfectant. You’re gonna need it.