When the red eye flight that Ryan, Conor and I took last week landed, I groggily relayed to Chris that the only positive thing I could say about it was that it was OVER.
My big mistake came from misunderstanding the lady at the gate that I would have to get a dozing Ryan out of the stroller at 10:30PM for her to put a gate check tag on it. I was pretty confused since I thought I could just push Ryan all the way to the airplane door (which I have done), but I picked him up anyway with Conor strapped to me. This just led to Ryan being rudely awaken when I quickly tossed him over Conor and flailing his limbs and hollering (screaming) and thus rudely awoke Conor who started flailing his limbs and hollering (screaming). We were a creature with twelve limbs, eight of them thrashing. All I could do was throw up an original Hail Mary and force a laugh to come out as I heaved them down the aisle that seemed to be closing in on us with each, "Get me off of here!" Well, let's just say the rest can be summed up by the flight attendant not so quietly telling the man unlucky enough to be sitting in our row that she would find a new seat for him (which I understood and was all for!).
The first twenty minutes of that plane ride were as bad as you could imagine. No, maybe imagine worse than you just imagined. His last plane tantrum was hilariously minuscule comparatively. But then Ryan fell into a deep, deep slumber that only a tantrum could bring and woke up all bright-eyed and inquisitive, "Hey! How did we get on the plane, Mom?" By scarring the other passengers, that's how.
I tried to avoid any eye contact with anyone else as we taxied to the gate, but then the mom sitting behind me with a newborn caught me eye and commended me by affirming, "You didn't lose your cool once." Kind people out there - you do so much good every day, and that freshly new mom made this mom feel as good as I could on a generous estimate of an hour of sleep. I shyly laughed and thanked her from the bottom of my very humbled heart.
I'll be honest. I've been on plenty of flights with Ryan that have been a breeze, but sometimes flying with little ones can humble me more than anything. Red-eyes already mess with me, but when I throw in a well-beaten mothering spirit to the unfortunate mix of interrupted sleep in a cold cabin of strangers and waking up in a new time zone, it's basically Daylight Savings Time on steroids.
Sometimes all I can do is let out a laugh in the face of that big sob threatening to spill over as my breath catches and acknowledge that I never need to wear blush when traveling alone with exhausted children.
But, guess what? I'm already anticipating the next time. And the next and the next. Maybe not with exuberant joy, but joy nonetheless. I like where I am, even if more roided up jet lag looms in the future.
A short-ish aside - after much reflection, it's possible I can be so happy go lucky about doing less than desirable things with children because of chickens and opinions. Stirring shavings and washing 100 chickens that relieve themselves on (what seems to be) on the hour makes wiping baby bums a walk through a wildflower field even when it isn't. But more than that, before I stepped into the life that I wanted, I had to explain what I wanted. I think I am lucky that I do have opinions in my life that are loudly against my choice to marry young and have children. And I've been hearing them for quite some time. The effect of this has been a gild of sorts atop my whole life - including red-eye possession impressions. Everything is tinted rosy because this is the life for me.
Was that short-ish? Or my typical rambling? Typical. Back to it.
Red-eyes and horrible travel with children are perfectly temporal. They seem eternal while enduring, but when I get to where we are going, the clear details of travel traumas start to fuzz. Travel, whether it be prayerful, curse-word-full or both, is just a temporary means for us to get to loved ones. That's it. There'll be blow-outs and blow-ups. I'll just do it.
Now make me feel like an amateur. Do you have any cringe-worthy travel stories?