Those of you watching Facebook know I was in Pittsburgh for Christmas. Here’s how I arrived:

My mom picked me up from the airport and she had my nephew with her. He’s 2.

He was looking for airplanes, but his car seat sits in the middle of the back seat, so he has a hard time seeing the sky out the sides of the car. Every time I fly in, he wants to see the planes. And every time, it’s dark or cloudy or his seat keeps him from seeing them.

On the other hand, he recently discovered dragons. This trip, he was convinced that I flew in on a dragon. “Yes, Miles, I flew in on a dragon. A big one with big wings,” I told him. I’m a good aunt.

“Big wings?” he asked.


I was thirsty, so my mom picked up a sippy cup from the center console and shook it. “This had ginger ale in it earlier,” she said. “There’s not much left now.”

“And now it’s all shaken up,” I teased. “Yuck. How old is this water bottle?”

“I don’t know, it’s your sister’s,” my mom says. That’s when I realized we were in my sister’s car. (It’s confusing: She and my mom have identical cars—down to the color and even the same baby seat in the back. Yep.)

I drank the water. Miles wanted the ginger ale, so with my mom’s permission I handed him the sippy cup. He’s the reason that the cup was mostly empty. A moment later I reached back for it again. Instead of handing me the cup, he gave me the lid. This was a bad sign. Then he handed over the empty cup. And finally, I got him to hand over the straw. I looked at the pieces.

“I think he spilled it,” I told my mom who was busy avoiding traffic on I-79.

“I spilled it on my shirt!” came from the back seat. Mom and I laughed.

“He’s going to be sticky,” I said.

“Yep,” my mom said.

Then Miles asked for the sippy cup again. I told him it was empty. “See? All gone. We’ll be home in a couple minutes and you can have some milk.”

He insisted he wanted ginger ale, with all his 2-year-old might—which is pretty mighty.

“There is no more,” I reasoned. “You spilled it on your shirt. Lick your shirt.”

“Don’t say that,” my mom said.

“Why?” And then I saw. “Oh, he’s licking his shirt.”

“Of course he’s licking his shirt. He’s 2!”

“Well, I didn’t know that meant he was literal. Milosh, don’t lick your shirt.”

“It’s wet,” he said. Literal.

“I know it is. We’ll get you a dry shirt at home.” Luckily, it was a ridiculous 60 degrees out in Pittsburgh that day.


We got home and Miles got a bath and some dry pjs. Then he pulled out the iPad so we could look up dragons. He pointed at a dragon every so often and asked who it was and of course, “Why?” So I made up stories for each of them based on their size and shape and how scary their teeth were. The sharper the fangs, the more cuddly the job they performed. And the fire-breathing dragons worked in forges and made swords.

Of all my travels, home is my favorite place to be.  It really stirs the imagination.

New Year’s Resolution: Tell more stories, especially of tiny moments that brighten life.

Upside Down Kingdom on Amazon: