If you missed them, check out Chapter One, Two and Three.
Back in June, a winter getaway to Cabo San Lucas seemed like a good idea to Heather.The online special offered a discounted, all-inclusive resort and something about waterslides and babysitters. Now, while making her way through LAX carrying a car seat, two backpacks, and pushing a stroller with a crying baby, Heather’s ready to cancel the trip. Too bad, it’s prepaid and nonrefundable she thinks, except in the case of a family member’s death. She considers this and glares at Michael, her husband, whose reading an email while Kaitlin and Dylan play a game of tag through the crowd.
Families traveling with small children may board the plane first. Fantastic, an extra twenty minutes on the plane with the whole screaming bunch. She smiles in false appreciation and hands the tickets to a gate attendant.
“I get the window,” Dylan yells as he pushes ahead and runs down the ramp. Kaitlin follows at full speed, surpassing him to the door of the plane.
“I beat you, so I get it,” Kaitlin says.
“Mom!” Dylan screams at the edge of tears.
“Stop it,” Heather says, feeling like she’s about to literally explode. She imagines herself being blown apart into little bits and each scattered piece of her representing a pressing obligation owed to her children, her husband and their friends. There might be nothing left of her.
The baby has finally stopped crying and is sound asleep. Now, she has to be removed from the stroller. Heather bends down and slowly lifts Ava to her chest. Her husband’s phone rings like an alarm and Ava begins to cry.
“On our way onto the plane now,” Michael says. There’s a pause and then he chuckles. Someone is telling him a joke. Heather thinks about ripping the phone from his hand. “Call you Monday,” he says and grins.
“Who was that,” Heather asks, irritated and bouncing Ava in her arms.
“Bill Phillips from Cyber Tech,” Michael says. “He says we should take the kids to the Dolphin Encounter.“
As she makes her way to the back of the plane, Heather wants to be grateful that they are able to take this vacation. Her brother in-law was laid off last week. Traveling with her family to Cabo is not a crisis. But, right now all she wants to do is to go home and check the children back into school for the weekend.
Kaitlin and Dylan are still arguing.
“I’ll take the window,” Michael says and sits.
Now all three children are crying. Heather sits across the aisle with Ava in her lap. More people file into the plane. A woman angrily glares and points to the empty seat beside Heather.
“That’s mine,” the woman says not hiding her displeasure.
“She’ll quiet down for her nap soon,” Heather says hopefully.
The woman rolls her eyes and sits down, smelling like floral perfume.
“Just think,” Michael says, smiling broadly and leaning across their two sullen children. “No distractions for a whole long weekend.”
Heather fakes a smile and nods. “Is that a good thing?” she thinks.
Note: The ModernMom Chronicles is a completely fictional novel. The story is not a personal blog, nor is it based on existing people or families.