Isabelle has known — for at least three months — I was going to drive to my parents’ house with Ari today. (One of my dearest friends from college is in North America, from Israel, this week so I’m traveling to NYC to see her.) Isabelle has known we’d be back on Tuesday afternoon. Despite this knowledge, she had a tough time separating from Ari this morning.
About 20 minutes before I departed, the good-byes began. Isabelle smothered Ari with kisses on his cheeks and enveloped him in more hugs than I could count. It seemed a little over the top, so Marc loaded Ari into his car seat. Isabelle followed “to keep him company” while I finished loading the car.
A few minutes later, I opened the back door and noticed Isabelle perched in the space between their car seats. She was facing backwards — just like her under-two-year-old brother — reading to him. That’s right. SHE WAS READING BOARD BOOKS TO HIM. (For anyone who doesn’t know, Isabelle loves being read to, but struggles with independent reading due to ocular motor dysfunction.)
“Can you give us some privacy?” she asked as I appeared at the door.
“In a second. I have to put some things back here.” I replied.
She continued reading Hair by Leslie Patricelli to Ari — a book we’d practiced several months ago — quite fluently. I stopped what I was doing and retrieved my iPhone from my back pocket. I pulled it out to take a video, but Isabelle glared at me. Therefore, I snapped a candid photo and gave her the privacy she requested.
* * * * *
Ari fell asleep for an hour once we were 15 minutes into our road trip. All I could think, as I glanced in the backseat, was how it didn’t seem right to have two of us on our way out of town with two family members at home. This isn’t how it ever works. Sometimes I travel for work. Sometimes Marc travels for work. Sometimes Marc and I go out of town together. However, there’s always a set of grandparents at home with the kids. This time, we were split in half and it felt — for lack of a better word — weird.
* * * * *
When Ari awoke from his nap, he babbled in the backseat for a few minutes. However, he suddenly cried “Idd-ee” (That’s how he says “Izzy,” which is what he calls Isabelle.) over and over again. He must’ve noticed he was alone in the backseat so he let his displeasure be known. Therefore, the final 43 miles of our trip were spent with him in tears crying out “Idd-ee” and “lun-shhh” over and over again. Once we got to my parents’ house, my dad had lunch waiting for Ari. Afterwards, Ari found some framed photographs of Isabelle and all was right with his world again.