The perils and joys of travelling with children are only truly experienced with airline travel. Cruise ships make even the boarding aspect fun since you are usually standing close enough to see the ship and gawk. Car travel is like any other nightmare ride to a soccer tournament 45 minutes away, just longer and more nerve-grating. But airline travel, with it’s own thrills of TSA checkpoints, what exactly fits into a 3.5 ounce bottle, interminable terminal waits, and the ever-dreaded runway respite… ahhhhh… now that spells migraine like no other travel mode.
Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we are heading to the airport so I can fly with the boys to go see PopPop. I’ll drop them off in MS, and fly home. This journey is in exchange for our freedom for a one week. Next weekend, I will fly down to retrieve them. Probably. I feel like one of the Air Marshalls escorting the Russian spies leaving today out of JFK.
Now, through the beauty of online check in, I have boarding passes in hand to avoid at least one airport delay. I will do everything short of packing one child within another to avoid checked bags and the delays they can bring. Most of my time in airports and on planes with sons in tow is spent apologizing profusely for something they did while wrapped up in their own little bubbles. Now, with advance seat numbers in hand, I can actually speed up the trip and get the most uncomfortable parts out of the way.
Before I go any further and morph into my “Do you not see I am at the end of my rope?” mode tomorrow morning… Fine professionals and fellow travelers in Newark Liberty Airport, I would like to apologize in advance to:
• The patient staff and patrons of AuBon Pain/ McDonald’s/ Starbucks who will listen to me tell Son1 at least twenty times he is not getting a sausage biscuit, with extra sausage, and a bacon side. I also may need a minute to get an order out of Son2, the least decisive person on the planet.
• The gate agent who will be approached (three times) by 12yr old Son1 for a First Class upgrade since he seems to think he’s entitled to the lap of luxury my airline miles occasionally afford. He’ll be the boy saying, “no, just one seat, not for my brother.”
• The man who approaches me when he spots me lingering outside the men’s room exit. (Really, were I a man doing so outside the ladies’ room I’d be arrested.) I appreciate your return to the bathroom to make sure there are two dapper boys somewhere in sight not crawling through the duct work to escape.
• The kind sirs who will emerge from said mens’ room with water splashes all over them from an impromptu yet epic soak-fest-fight at the sink. Even if I weren’t frazzled, I couldn’t acknowledge you because you would then know I was the parent, and expect some restitution. Oh who says water stains don’t come out of pure silk ties? Please.
• The flight attendant welcoming all aboard, and body blocking the cockpit. Sorry, they’re just very curious. And flexible. Really, no harm, no foul.
• The fine gentlemen/ladies in seats 13A and B for the seat whaling that will take place.
• 13C for the lethal force to be used grabbing your seatback (and maybe some hair- may want to consider a hat) when Son1 storms through to the bathroom. Five times in a three hour flight.
• The flight attendant with the beverage cart who will want to throw a soda at Son2 when he pitches a fit that you have Sprite, but not Sprite Zero. They're both sweet, both clear. Lie to him, he'll never know. It's just easier, trust me.
• 26C, seated near the lavatories. Sorry about the Bloody Mary incident. You’re right, children should not be unattended on planes in the galley area. It was totally accidental. Ditto, 26D.
• The helpful gentlemen who always seem to be seated across and one row back. Yes, you sir in 15D. Thank you for trying to help Son1 take his stuff from the overhead. Really, once the bleeding stops I really think that broken nose will give character to your face.
• Rows 15 through 26 (except for 15D and his wife E who are being tended to by the paramedic). You all will ever so patiently wait while Son1 AND Son2 take turns stepping into the aisle to pick up and close their backpacks. Lord forbid this were done upon approach, descent, landing, or the 20 minutes we inexplicably sat mere inches from the gate.
• The elderly woman in the jet way behind me, who upon de-boarding will have to listen to my, “just shut it shut it shut it shut I said shut it what is the problem did you not hear me say shut it” to each son regarding Nintendo game cases, backpacks, and mouths.
• The guy driving the vehicle-thingy they use to transport disabled people or large items to the gate. Really, I have no idea how he got a skateboard into his backpack. Nice slalom manuever! Have you thought of Formula One? Were you as scared as I was when that oxygen tank flew right off the back? Whew.
Alrighty then, I feel more prepared for the morning. Getting those awkward looks, confessions, and remorseful pleas off my chest now makes me feel a lot more optimistic for tomorrow’s surprises! Looks like it’ll be a nice dinner tonight, a fortifying yet calming glass of wine, and the kids let lose to “make merry” (read as run around out side to burn energy)… for tomorrow we fly!