Our trip to Philly was short and sweet. Sweet? Sour. Sweet & sour? Yeah, it’s always both.
Before we left home I had gifted Beaudin a digital camera which he had been asking for for some time. He was thrilled. He took pictures of everything. He took pictures of the lady from Southwest who checked us in at DIA, the Starbucks employee who handed us our snacks for the plane, random dogs in the airport, the Southwest gate agent, the man sitting in the row in front of us, etc. I resisted to urge to apologize for him, “Sorry, he just took a completely unflattering and too close picture of you, it’s his first camera…” and instead said nothing. Turns out, everyone was glad to indulge him in his photography.
We arrived late, finally getting into our Uber from the airport around 11:30pm. Once arriving at the hotel, I asked the front desk if there was somewhere to grab food at this late hour. They told us about Wawa, a 24-hour deli around the corner. Perfect. So we headed there, naively expecting to find my suburban Colorado expectations of a deli, and instead found an eastcoast, inner city, convenience store that yes, had deli meat, and in no possible universe were we consuming it. As we combed the aisles for something edible, there was an altercation between the security guard and a homeless man, high on who knows what. I told Beau to grab whatever provisions looked good, posthaste. The lady who checked us out did so while unleashing on the customer who had called in to complain about his GrubHub order being late, the only thing she said to us being, “Can you believe this guy?!” while taking a quick break from yelling at him to take our payment. I smiled at her, Beau zoomed in and took a close-up pic of her hijab. We left, I required Beau hold my hand as we made our way back to the hotel, a man hurried down the middle of the street, like he was fleeing…something…
We got back to our hotel room, it was 1am and we ate our “dinner” of Lays potato chips, unripe bananas, and Planter’s trail mix. I wondered what exactly we were doing here. Beau laid comfortably on the chaise lounge in the hotel suite living area, scrolling through the pictures on his camera and remarked, “Well, so far this is basically the best trip ever.”
The next morning we slept in because between our 1:00am Wawa visit, and the two episodes of “Wild Alaska” we watched on National Geographic well into the 2 o’clock hour, we were a bit tired. Luckily, our appointment wasn’t until 10am.
Finally, around 9:00am we walked to the fresh juice bar down the street and got breakfast. I got an açaí bowl with lots of fresh fruit, Beau ordered steel cut oats with banana, kiwi, and brown sugar and a wild berry smoothie. By the time our food was ready it was time to hop in an Uber to get across the river to the hospital. As we waited on the street corner for the Uber to arrive, Beau spilled his smoothie down the front of his jacket. The wind was bitter and he was working to retract his fingers inside his coat sleeves while still maintain hold on the plastic cup. He failed. Of course we didn’t have any napkins because I had my travel purse and not my “I am a mom of three kids and can provide any necessity on the spot, standard, Mary Poppins purse.” The Uber pulled-up as I was licking, yes, licking, the smoothie off his coat. It was a mess, and we were about to a.) get in a public transportation vehicle that I imagine didn’t want an 8 year old dribbling with wild berry smoothie, and b.)we have an entire day ahead of us including by not limited to meeting the new doctors and sure as shit the “if we are clean and presentable they will like us better and that will mean a higher success rate.” mirage was still holding tight on my deep psyche. So, I slurped and licked the smoothie as best I could, in the bitter Philly wind and thought to myself, “If this is not motherhood, what is?!” We climbed into the warm Uber.
The children’s hospital is located “across the river” in an area that has a couple of other hospitals, the UPenn medical school campus and Drexler University campus. It is a densely populated area with old building wedged in closely among big, new developments. When we arrived at the corner that indicated our destination on the Uber app, I hadn’t a clue which of the tall buildings was ours. I felt immediately disoriented.
“This is it….?” the driver stated with a small hint that he also wasn’t entirely sure.
“….Yes….. yes… this is it,” I replied, not entirely sure what question I was actually answering.
Children’s Hospital of Colorado is a big campus that stands alone on an acre of grassy landscape. You would never get dropped off in front of it and have any question of where to go. This was different.
The closest building to the left had been retrofitted with a colorful facade which made me think it was likely made for children so we crossed the street, and found our new home away from home, The Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care. We took a picture.
More later. xx