Sunday, December 23, 2007

Yahoo/Boohoo Moment #75439029458

Although it was early in the morning, the family was hauling through the airport to make our flight. Brad slugged through on two hours of sleep and I was slightly tense because I'd thought of several things I'd already forgotten at home. INCLUDING MOVIES FOR THE CHILDREN.

Movies are really the life-blood of all travel in our family. I don't even pretend to make-up fun car games or creative time killers. Instead, I give myself carte blanche to fire up the DVD player and let the small ones watch until they've stopped blinking and drool is pooling in their laps.

Luckily, God has blessed me with kids who will watch TV for hours on end without so much as a batted eyelash or potty intermission. Nope, He knew I would need a very special diversion for these little people and in the form of Anakin Skywalker and the Backyardigans, I have an answered prayer.

So back to the we literally dashed (and I am not using that word just because it's Christmastime) away from the ticket counter, we grabbed the kids' hands and headed for the escalator.

"Brad. Stop."

"What?!?! We are going to be late!"

I am having a moment.

"We are in the airport, with our children and WITHOUT A STROLLER for the first time in over five years. Did you even notice? We are all WALKING OF OUR OWN VOLITION. We have to take this in!"

This is HUGE. Because our famlies are many states away, Jackson's first plane ride was at eight weeks old. And the worst day of my life occurred when I lost all decision-making ability and flew ALONE with both kids--Jackson at 20 months and Lilly at 2 months.

The Bean was strapped to my chest via the Baby Bjorn and Jackson rode in one of those convertible stroller/car seat things, which I borrowed from a friend who PROMISED I could just get on the airplane and push it down the aisle. Oh no, I most certianly as the sky is blue could not. So somehow, I had to hoist it up and over the seats and carry my statistically gigantic oldest child ALONG WITH THIS AWFUL SEAT out in front of the Bjorn and sleeping infant for what seemed like the length of the entire plane.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't crying by the time I sat down.

Running 20 miles in the humidity of August produced less sweat than I did trying to get myself and my entourage through the security line. The overly-aggressive TSA mafia made me take off the shoes/booties of three people, unstrap Lilly, hand her to someone who appeared to have never handled a doll, let alone a live, breathing infant, and then get Jackson to walk through the metal detector by bribing him with a flower sticker. That only took, you know, 45 minutes or something.

And it never occured to me that I really had no way to go to the bathroom on the plane or change a diaper by myself. Hmmm..leave the toddler boy to run wild in the main cabin while I change the girl or leave the infant daughter on the seat and hope for no turbulance while I manage the boy's diaper situation. Of course, I could've just changed them right there in row 17 which would have REALLY thrilled all our seatmates. Because, have y'all ever tried to fit THREE PEOPLE NO MATTER THEIR SIZE in the airplane lavatory? I think not.

Sometimes when things in life are going very badly, I still wake up having nightmares about it.

But what has happened? Where are those babies? No diaper bags, no backpacks (more of an oversight than an intentional decision), no snacks (ditto), no drinks (now I'm sounding downright negligent), no NOTHING.

And for the kicker, as we settled into our seats, I reached into my purse to get the beloved Nintendo DS Machines of Paradise. Jackson chose that very minute to inform me that Lilly's Little Mermaid game wasn't in hers. Apparently he KNEW the game was not in the machine much earlier when we were packing, but thought NOTHING of it. Men...

Panic flew over me, for while we have made travel progress, we are not in the clear. Especially because we were movie-free and not flying Frontier, which offers the fabulousness of TVs for 500 pennies.

But you know what? That Lillybean just sat and colored and played word games and went potty three times (anything to kill time) and watched Jackson play Nintendo and she was GREAT.

I couldn't believe it.

There have been enough vomit, diarrhea, exploding diapers, holding-screaming-babies-in-the-flight-attendant-galley episodes and the trip when I read "Barnyard Dance" upwards of 100 times (dead serious) to alleviate any guilt I might have felt.

But there was sadness, think our time of reading board books, entertaining with games and songs, and praying for the rapture to come during that very flight was over. Not sadness that I don't have to put on a full dog and pony show each trip, but sadness in recognition that an entire era of our lives has passed.

How crazy that an airplane ride mirrored the journey which is our lives. Thank goodness reality offers much better food.