“Oh what a bird is the pelican. His beak can hold more than his belly can.” Seriously, THIS limerick keeps running through my head as I sit in a cramped seat with a baby strapped to me and a pre-schooler whining to my left, on this long journey home. Because I think my mind is slowly beginning to unravel. Traveling with kids — even when the kids are good, seasoned air travelers — is really, really hard! I can’t believe I took all those precious pre-kid flights for granted, angrily snickering to myself at the announcement of a delay, balking dramatically at the news of an unexpected technical difficulty. What was I thinking? I had no idea how to bask in the glory of alone transport time. Watching a movie, reading and sipping a delightful Starbucks or beer in peace while stuck at some airport hub? Sounds like a vacation.
We usually fly Southwest (every one of our dollars spent becomes a SW reward point, and the only reason we’re using a different airline today is due to rebooking madness following the FLL incident), so I’m unaccustomed to the current offerings of other airlines. I became super excited earlier today when I boarded the first leg of our American Airlines flight and noticed the entertainment tablets on each seatback. I cautiously dreamed of K taking a nice, fat nap in the Ergo (I’d been keeping her up all day for this), R zoning out in front of some good old screen time, and me watching one of the brand new movie releases suddenly available at my fingertips. Bad Moms and Bridget Jones’ Baby? Here?! For free?! Jeez, the notion of me plugging in headphones and being personally entertained at 36,000 feet sounded too delicious than it should.
The plan commenced successfully — R was pretty pleased with the kids movie selections, K nursed and conked out. I had two kids down! I started Bad Moms and really appreciated Mila Kunis’ portrayal of a fed-up but fun-loving mother of two who is always late, works her butt off 24 hours a day to ensure the smooth lives of her brood, gives lots of love, at some point each day feels like a failure, and eventually lets it all go to create a more manageable and joyful life. I mean, this movie was literally made for my precise demographic. And I ate it up — for the entire 15 minutes that K slept. Then it was over. And our flight still had 2.5 hours. Suddenly the turbulence made me nauseous, K wouldn’t stop bouncing up and down, moving from seat to seat, pulling every item out of every carryon bag, and jabbering (mostly happily, at least). At least I got a glimpse of the long lost pre-kid flight experience — and it was awesome.
Now, after a layover, listening to cranky complaints from each member of my family, and boarding our teeny tiny commuter plane home, I’m pretty done. Throughout the day, I reminded myself to remain overwhelmingly grateful. But I still encountered moments of annoyance and frustration — they were plentiful and very real indeed. My blood boils and OCD goes buck wild when I have to bend over in a tiny plane seat and collect every item strewn across the floor with a baby and kid on top of me. However, at this precise instant in time, the baby has stopped screaming and is FINALLY sleeping (in time for our initial descent), R is behind me in another row (I threw her next to T shortly after take-off), and I’m quickly writing a blog post. I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that we made it home safely and soundly.