They Cut The Carseat Strap!
Updated: Dec 29, 2019
She stood there holding the four month old baby, two suitcases at her feet and me with our toddler, shaking with confusion as the two airport attendants pulled knives from their cargo pockets and looked at us with sadness and regret in their eyes. "Lo Siento" they said, "Lo Siento! Sinor, Lo Siento!" I shook my head "Please! No! Please!"... We had come 3630km, a stopover in Miami for a hot minute and landed feeling proud, ready for the month of a lifetime and all those voices in our heads from the 9-5ers who had been saying "you're taking the kids?!" and "aren't you scared?!" gone out the window. We'd made it, day one of the unknown and the beginning of our life plan. She was 28, I was 41, one was 2.5 and one was 4 months old, and everything was perfect, just as we had unplanned it. San Jose was hot, even just the airport was a bustling and eye opening experience that fuelled us with excitement and feelings of accomplishment. The suitcases came around the belt, mine, hers and then the wait for oversized baggage for our two CSA Approved car seats, that we willingly dragged from Toronto to the off-road middle of the jungle outside Montezuma, just for that one tiny piece of security from our comfortable 9-5 life back home.
"There it is" she pointed, I motioned towards the belt and took the bucket seat and base down and placed them at my feet as the next one climbed the moving ramp from the gut of the plane. The bright red handle first through the rubber drapes, then the beautiful light grey and blue headrest that protects my first born from the outside world, shoulder pads, seat, and that was it... the wrapping had come undone somewhere between Km 2049 & 3527, and the lap belt got sucked into the undertow of the conveyor and was stuck. Off goes the flashing read light and two hard working attendants run to the mouth of the angled tunnel, frantically attempting to pull the seat against the strength of the undertow. It was too late... the conveyor belt had won. I looked at her, in shock as she gripped the baby with a look in her eyes I wish I could have taken away from her in a split second. I turned back around as they pulled knives from their pockets and thought to myself "they carry knives?" as they began to motion to me, with our obvious language barrier, that they were about to cut the straps on her carseat. It is just the beginning and I feel although we have already come to an end. Where would we go? How would we get in the car? I am not taking her anywhere without a car seat. Then she yelled "They cut the carseat strap!" Am I an overprotective father? I mean... no, I've landed in a country where I don't speak the language, and I'm about to spend a month living in the jungle with a human who has been on the planet for 118 days... do I want to keep them safe, absolutely! As my worry and fears began to wash over me, they carried the seat to my arms with pure and honest regret in their eyes, "Lo siento" he softly said as he handed me the remains of the anchor strap. I turned to her and she smiled, "is it just the anchor strap?"... Since the day she came into my life, she just has this way about her, these simple and easy words that make all the dark disappear. "Yeah, it's just the anchor strap" I replied and we were back. The beginning of the rest of our lives. The next 34 days would change us in ways we never could have expected. Our bond, our dreams, our future, hell, even our skin and our sleep... This was the beginning of the life we now lead, this was the day they cut the car seat strap.