A day at the airport

I’m not sure what happened to you yesterday, but this is what happened to me.

I was awake at 5am, my mind racing about the last minute things I needed to do before I took all of our luggage and my three kids to the airport. So I got up, showered, blogged and then discovered that all my kids were also up. 545am and all three were up, I’m assuming just as excited and sad to leave. Well, the rule is you have to stay in bed till 7am, hoping they would fall back asleep. This trick didn’t work. It never does, and yet I am persistent in trying. I grew a little more anxious as I know what it means to take three kids on a plane by myself, but now I’m going to do it with three tired kids, right at nap time. Awesome.

My chest started to tighten. Then one of my children decided he was either mad at me, sad about leaving, too excited to go home, I’m not sure, but he soaked himself and the bed. Covered, yes in pee. Now I needed to add laundry to my list before leaving for the airport. We had a little chat. Changed him into his travel clothes and made him lay back down (on a clean bed of course). Now I needed to add persistent disobedience and anger to my list of tired.

My chest really started to feel heavy and anxious. 7am rolled around, we got up, everyone got changed, ate breakfast, packed toys, packed a lunch, everyone was ready by 904am when we said we would leave at 9am. OK, we are ready and then I forgot Lu’s food, went back. Then I forgot their water bottles, went back. This was not proving to be a good omen if I believed in that sort of thing, but I was nervous.

We were now on the road, headed to the airport. When we get there, we curbside checked our three large suitcases, and this is when the weight of one of my decisions really hits me. I look at all of our carry on luggage. All of it is legal because my kids each get two items with their seat, but one of each of their pieces really belonged to me, and therefore I needed to carry it. I clearly had chewed off more than I could chew at this point. Holy cow, how was I going to do this? Let’s see, these were the words that came out of my mouth more than 12 times between the check in counter and the security line, “Caleb keep up, you need to walk faster, Noah when you push the stroller you have to look where you are going, (after he ran into three people, oh man.) Lu use a quieter voice, Caleb pick up your blanket so it doesn’t drag on the floor, Lu you will eat soon.”

The security line is where I do my best work. The kids and I have a family meeting on travel days. We discuss what is expected and how we need to work as a team. Then we say a prayer. That people will have compassion on us, and God would help me in every sense of the word. So at the security line, the kids know what to do. They each get their own bin, they do their double check, they get me bins to put Lu’s and my stuff in and it works. I was surrounded by business on their way to special meetings and all in a hurry. Then there was me with 9 bins and a stroller. Oh yeah, you heard me, 9 bins. I told you I over did it. I think the comment from one of the men standing around was, “Wow, if she can do that, she can manage my whole department.” That’s right. Mom’s don’t get enough credit for all the managing they do. This nice man Bob helped get all our stuff through, load up the stroller and gave me a look that said, I’ve been there. I’m sorry.

We survived, and my father-in-law was there to help us all the way to the jet way. He was a huge gift. We were the first on the plane which was great since I TOTALLY over packed and needed the space and time to get situated. We had two hours to kill on the plane, and this is how we did it.

The take off is exciting and so we each get a piece of candy to suck on so our ears don’t plug. We unwrap it and do a count down till the plane starts moving. Lu is mad because she doesn’t have one, so she gets goldfish. Once up in the air, we have our sandwiches. This kills another 10 min. After sandwiches are eaten, Lu needs a diaper change, so all three of us, get up and go the bathroom to change the baby. Oh yea, you wonder how one maybe two people fit in those bathrooms? Try four! We had a lot of love going on in that bathroom, that was until the flush button got pushed and then they all freaked. Pretty sure people thought I lost a kid in there. That was another 10 min. I killed some time letting them look at themselves in the mirror. Anything to not have to go back to the seats where Lu is squirmy and wants to eat and kiss everything.

We did three bathroom trips, cause apparently not everyone has to go at the same time. They brought drinks, we played with the straws. Our favorite right now is when we blow through the straw into Lu’s face. She giggles and we laugh. She started to make the blowing face and it was super cute. The boys were playing with their toys and they just don’t possess the ability to be quiet. Now everyone knows Star Wars and Batman characters. They also know all about the Care bears because my boys remember that the Care Bears live in the sky, so they start saying hi to them all and discussing what they are doing that day. Don’t judge, boys can like Care Bears. Caleb also said really loud, “Mommy look we are in Jesus’ sky! We are above the clouds and this is where Jesus lives!”

Lu was super tired but she couldn’t go to sleep, so every time she would start to fuss and cry, I shoved food in her mouth. She pretty much ate for two hours straight. I don’t care if you judge me for my parenting or what I will do to my daughter in her subconscious, but when on a plane, do whatever you can to keep the peace. During this trip she has also decided that she doesn’t want to use her hands. She puts her face in her food at eats like an animal. She also at one point had her foot in her goldfish bowl and was trying to pick up her snack with her toes. Weird right? It’s so ridiculous. The other thing that would shut my daughter up is that fact that when she would start to cry, it would make the baby sitting next to us start to cry. Once she heard them cry, she would stop and then just stare at the other baby. Pretty sure that parent is my best friend now. Lu cries, makes other baby cry, Lu stops and awkwardly stares at baby for making such a fuss. This happened on at least 4 occasions. At one point, I just let Lu hang out on the floor. She found an orange and I just let her gnaw on it. Is that bad? Is the rind of an orange really bad for you? Not sure if she got anything off it that was significant, but it definitely had some chew marks. While she started to cry during our decent, I would sing “All the single ladies” to her and she would immediately stop. She looked a little bipolar. She is so weird.

Once they made the announcement that plane was starting to come in for a landing, we were back to the excitement of playing eye spy and seeing all the tiny houses and cars. At that point, Caleb turns around to me and shouts in his loud Waller voice, “MOM I CAN’T HEAR! MY EARS DON’T WORK, I CAN’T HEAR!” Pretty sure everyone heard that.

Whew, I feel like I ran a marathon. Except now the huge long hallway looms before me and my father-in-law is not here to help. I have all this luggage and my three tired and cranky kids I need to get downstairs to our waiting car. I can feel my shoulders aching and tensing as I carry all of the luggage that I decided was so important that I bring. Caleb is slowing down more and more with every step until he decides he doesn’t want to walk anymore. His blanket is too heavy. I almost lost it right there. It almost went in the garbage. I told him he wasn’t helping the team. We needed to go forward and we couldn’t do it without him. He needed to do his part. He said no. We had a chat. He got up, and continued forward.

Up at 5am, I arrived home with all luggage and still three kids at 2pm. Lu went right to sleep, the kids played with toys they had missed for two weeks, and I unpacked. We made it. We survived. I knew at the beginning of our day whether good or bad, it would be over by 2 and then it was. The kids weren’t bad necessarily, just kids. Full of energy, wonder, excitement, a thirst of knowledge for what all things do and what happens when you push certain buttons. They were sad to leave, excited to go home and didn’t want to take the process you have to take to get home, but we made it.

Yesterday was a day where I realized the full weight of traveling with three kids. Oh, and all the fun luggage I wanted to bring. What was it you want to know? Nana’s childhood books, a heritage teddy bear made by Nana and quilted by her great-great-grandmother, a video camera, a large indent on my jewelry collection, each kid with a new toy and stuffed animal, and all of dad’s action figures. I’m a sucker for hand me downs, especially when they come from generations before us. You should see these books, they are awesome.

Man, I’m tired just recounting the day yesterday.