It is an hour before the baby’s bedtime, rush hour in Bogota, and I am trying to catch an Uber home.
We have just spent the last few hours visiting my husband in the hospital, prior to that a few hours in the home of new friends for Thanksgiving. This is Day 4 of single parenting, and I am wearing thin. It’s one thing to be in the United States, to have your own car, to have family nearby to take the baby off your hands – but I have none of those conveniences.
I run to catch the Uber with the car seat awkwardly slapping against my hip. I’m tired. I’m sweating. I’ve already been waiting 20 minutes.
Ingrid starts crying almost immediately after we climb into our Uber. She is exhausted and overstimulated. She doesn’t want to be in her car seat. We are in standstill traffic and it is stifling in the car. I don’t know if Uber or taxi drivers have air conditioning, but they never, ever use it. We can barely breathe with the smog coming in the windows from the nearby buses and cars.
Crying quickly turns into full-on, red-faced screaming. Nothing calms her. No toys, no snacks, not even singing soothes her.
After an eternity of her screaming, and us literally moving one city block… I am in tears.
I apologize to the Uber driver in broken Spanish, to which he calmly replies, “It’s OK. I have a kid.”
It’s a universal thing. The crying baby that doesn’t respond to anything – many times I’ve witnessed the worn out mothers deal with their babies, but now I’m the tearful woman unable to calm her baby. What am I supposed to do?
I relate to the Uber driver my pitiful story – that we just moved here. That my husband has been unexpectedly in the hospital all week. That I have no family to help me. That I’m alone at home taking care of a toddler all day. That I barely speak Spanish.
Except he doesn’t believe me. Because somehow this trauma has enabled me to speak my best Spanish so far.
The most miserable experience since arriving has an upside.
He’s an electrician, looking for work, driving Uber every day until the next opportunity comes around. He has a kid, elementary school age. He has lived in Bogota his whole life and loves it. He tells me his favorite places to eat and pass time in his home town.
45 minutes pass – and we’re home. I thank him profusely as I get out of the Uber and walk up the stairs to our apartment, Ingrid still sleeping peacefully.
Photo by Lexi Ruskell on Unsplash