Picture if you will, 1 Mama, 2 Small Children (4 & 6), 3 Time Zones, 4 Airports, 13 HOURS (yes, people, I said HOURS) from 1st take off to final landing.
This was me a few years ago. My parents had been hopping around the country and had finally settled back on the West Coast and it was my first visit “home” in about 4 years.
I NEEDED to see my mountains, I NEEDED to see my Mama and my Daddy, I NEEDED to see my Sissy and my Bubba, I NEEDED a shrink by the time we landed.
The Ranger wasn’t able to accompany me on this little voyage across the country. I had done this many times before, but usually only with Big, so I figured no problem.
Big has had a frequent flier card since she was 9 mos. old. Big is a traveler. Flying is no big deal to her. She has always been a very good flier. I flew with her umpteen times to New Orleans and Memphis. People see us board the plane with the plea of “Please, Dear God, don’t let them sit next to me!” Then they congratulate me on what a good baby she was when we were exiting the plane.
Baby is a COMPLETELY other story. Baby gets board easily on airplanes. Baby kicks seats (Daddy or Big usually sit in front of her). Baby won’t stay seated. Baby won’t sleep. Baby acts like, well, a child.
So, on this particular venture, I packed up our suitcases, packed up our carry-ons, packed up my children complete with their dog tag ID’s, put on my sea bands (did I mention I get air sick on a swing set?) and set out for the wilds of Washington State (while in a state of denial).
The Ranger helped get us up to security then had to bow out.
So, we got to the concourses, got some food and waited. The first leg of the trip took us from Pittsburgh to Minneapolis. No problems. The flight was relatively quick, the kids suitably threatened if they caused a scene and they watched a movie on the DVD player. The layover in Minneapolis was 3 HOURS long! Luckily the airport has a great play area. We got to know it well. We were there for an hour and a half! I then took the kids and set out on the trek to find our next gate, all the while listening to “MOM, I’m hungry!” “Mom, my feet are tired.” “Mom, you HAVE to carry me.” One child whining, one screaming, and me, I just wanted to cry. We found our gate, did the whole eating thing and then I took them to the bathroom. Baby decided to take this moment to throw a tantrum about something. By now the plane has started to board and Big starts to panic. You see, she has never had to wait in a line this long to board the plane. We usually board at “Families with small children” time. But, we missed it. So, now Big was crying that we’re going to miss the plane, Baby was still in the throws of her temper tantrum and the entire plane of passengers waiting in line were dreading the 4 hour flight ahead of us (Can’t say as I blamed them). It was almost magical how people turned in dread to watch us make our way down the aisle of seats (did I mention I like to sit in the back of the plane?). We got to our seats and the tears instantly dissolved, we settled in with a few books and stuffed animals and made it through take-off.
Life was good until the batteries on the DVD player died (somewhere over Idaho) and Baby started to get board. She went through every storybook we brought, the markers and even the play dough then took to climbing on top of her seat to look up and down the airplane and finally settled herself on the floor and was going to army crawl her way up the seats. I’m not the typical mother who would say, “Naughty, naughty!” I know it would do me no good. So, I went straight to plan B and call a flight attendant and very kindly asked her to yell at my child for me. Which she did. I have never seen Baby better behaved than she was for the rest of that flight! She sat quietly in her seat with her hands in her lap for close to 45 minutes! When we were leaving the airplane I was once again congratulated on how well behaved my children were especially after the scene they had caused when we were boarding.
We landed in Seattle, and had another hour between flights so I called my Mama. So, there we sat in SeaTac, I’m talking on the phone, Big is munching Doritos and Baby is attempting to shove Cheetos into my mouth while I’m talking. That was the final straw, I distinctly remember turning to my sweet Baby and saying, “You know some species eat their young and now I completely understand why! If you don’t knock it off I’m going to eat you!” I also distinctly remember a nearby maintenance worker stopping, looking at me, and then slinking away. My Mama asked if there was anything I wanted them to bring to the airport for me when they picked us up. “Alcohol, bring alcohol.” She thought I was joking because I rarely drink. I was dead serious!
I think one of my greatest moments of relief had to have been when we made that final landing at that final airport and my Sissy handed me a nice alcoholic beverage.
How did I spell relief on that trip? M-O-J-I-T-O
For anyone on pins and needles, the trip back was, blessedly, much less eventful.