Ever travel on an airplane with your children?
Last month, the fam made a decision to take a trip back east to Boston (Mama’s hometown) and Cherry Hill, NJ (Dada’s hometown) to go to a family wedding and spend some time with the folks we love the most.
Taking children on an airplane is crazy stressful all on its own; the added chaos instilled from others, I could do without.
The morning started at about 3:49am when I awoke terrified that we were going to miss our flight. As I ran around the house getting last minute diapers, wipers, sweaters, slippers, boys and toys and not making any noise, I stepped on one of the five furry little rescued dogs we have. After consoling all two pounds of her, it was time to make the coffee and wake up my beautiful wife and embark on our little journey.
Together we felt like we put in somewhere around a hundred hours into getting out the door. Four suitcases (for a week and a half trip), two boys, two car seats, two strollers, diaper bag, food bag, water (which you can't bring into the airport, but never fear, you can purchase a small one inside for a hundred and eight bucks!) toys, books, ipods and computers for the plane, and a couple blankies.
We got to the airport with plenty of time and were now ready to tackle the security line: off with the shoes, the belt, the hat, the watch, the phone, the jewelry – hold on to the kids – fold the stroller, laptop outta the case, turn it on, turn it off, no liquids, no lotions, no crazy quick motions. Carry the baby, not the toddler, tickets please!!
I felt like we should have asked for a room, post security check, to get the family redressed – don’t they know we have been up for 5 hours already getting the kids together?
Lumbering onto the plane, after checking strollers that you hope won't get lost or tossed or chucked off the plane, you get what I like to call the “baby hater stink eye” from lovely passengers.
What is it with these people? Childless? Parent haters? Kid haters?
We have learned the hard way not to bring much on the actual airplane other than what the kids need to be changed into and to play with. The overheads are crammed with other passenger’s life possessions it seems. It's a sure injury just opening the overhead these days, let alone trying to stuff your things up there.
On Virgin America (the BEST for kids), each vessel comes standard with great TV screens on the back of the seat in front of you. They have fun games on them, live tv, etc. It’s a must for the kids on a six-hour flight.
As we took off, the kids were happy watching their TV’s and all was well – we made it. Nothing is forgotten (pretty sure anyway), everyone is together, we have all our stuff, and are up, up and away.
Now, one of our sons is eighteen months old. As a result, he does what any other eighteen month old would do on a tube filled with humans in the sky – he cries a bit. When I say a bit, I mean a bit, not a lot. But this invokes a reaction from a woman in front of us that you wouldn’t believe. She starts in with the infamous stink eye, and boy is she good at the delivery. She gets up to about fourteen turns per minute to let us know that she is miserable, and that the reason for her misery lies with us.
After getting our child settled and un-terrified, he goes back to his touch screen tv on the back of stink eye’s seat. She does NOT enjoy the touching of her chair to say the least, as my son plays a little game on the screen.
It is at this point that I realize there are two kinds of folks on our planet: the tolerant, and the intolerant. She happened to be the latter.
She then set out on a course to make our trip as miserable as she had made her own.
“He’s a baby,” I kept saying, “I’m sorry,” I kept saying. To no avail – the eye got madder and the beholder got nastier.
So, I ask you all this: When I need to fly my family across the country to go to a wedding, funeral, or hard-earned vacation, why can't I do that without the criticism, sarcasm, and intolerance of others?
My family means more to me than anything on this ball of land and water. There is nothing I wouldn’t do to protect them and to ensure their happiness, as that is what my purpose is here. I take it seriously. I do it honorably and respectfully. That is what my dad taught me, and that is what I intend to do. If that means enduring a little stink eye, so be it. But I will tell you this – I will fly them to the ends of the Earth if I need to, so buckle up little campers.