The best stories of our lives are never truly remembered by us; they are told and retold by proud mothers and grandmothers. This particular memory was told to me by my grandmother who was with me the first time I ever flew in an airplane.
In 1991, my grandparents decided to spend Easter holidays in England and since I lived with them I had to go along. Difficult as it is to travel with a baby on a plane, it makes it that much harder to deal with a baby that doesn’t understand cabin pressure and sudden altitude changes; I was no exception.
I was fussy, irritable, and moody even before we got onto the plane. It’s a two-hour flight from Lisbon to Heathrow and there weren’t any baby food options besides Heinz Baby Food jars which I wasn’t used to. My grandmother had been feeding me solid food since I was one year old and the artificial flavors of the baby food didn’t agree with my stomach; I began throwing up in my grandfather’s lap. That started a chain reaction: my grandfather jumped up, the flight attendant dropped the tray she was holding, and I (so I’m told) got the biggest fright of my life. I started crying and wouldn’t stop until my grandmother gave me something to hold and play with. She decided that a pair of earphones playing “plane music” would be appropriate. She was right—at least until the point when I began pulling on the earphones so hard that I tore the wire to pieces.