Life is absurd. And life is precious. Family is a lot of both.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Traveling Circus

When I boarded a flight last month with my baby, the two men occupying the front row would not make eye contact with me. "Sorry, guys," I said as I slid into the middle seat, "but it's gonna happen." I didn't want to jinx us by bragging on what a happy traveler this little one has been, but by the time we touched down in Dallas, he'd won them both over and the passengers around us cooed and complimented his sweet smile as we disembarked.

I know how nice this story is because I have lived the exact opposite. It was a flight 13 years ago so horrific that my husband stood and apologized to the entire plane full of people once we landed. So bad that not a single one of them said, "Oh, it's okay. He's cute." No one. We scurried off that flight feeling emotional daggers of hatred being flung at our backs. Well deserved daggers, if you ask us. Yes, it was that bad. Really. Bad.

We are what you could call semi-professional travelers with children. Thanks to the global needs of the Army, we have logged more than 200,000 miles with at least one member of our party under the age of 2. We did the math because we like to remind ourselves why we look so tired.

Among our adventures:

  • A road trip to a graduation ceremony involving two toddlers and a pregnant mother driving alone, staying overnight at a riverside cabin straight out of a horror movie, and not sleeping at all.
  • A train trip in Germany involving a dead car battery, a two-mile hike with four children to the station in pouring rain, and an emergency stop at a pharmacy for antacid.
  • A four-hour drive to Poland in a blizzard with three children, a baby, and a nanny crammed into an undersized station wagon, only to arrive and find the accommodations had no heat.
  • A gondola ride to our lodge at the top of a Swiss mountain on a vacation which included an overheating car, a near-disastrous bicycle crash, and a case of mild hypothermia for the 6-year-old.
  • A Christmas flight home from Germany while Dad was deployed. This one involved four children, an extremely pregnant mother, a pat down at the airport (in hindsight OF COURSE they thought I was a crazy person), and a lot of tears.
  • A 16-hour race home from Colorado involving another blizzard, a diaper explosion, and an enormous toy that had to be wedged in and out of the backseat every time we stopped for a potty break.
  • A last-minute trek across five states for a funeral that involved one harried dad, five children, two dogs, two fish, and an unhappy parakeet.

I could go on (see Carry On Baggage), but you probably wouldn't believe me and this list is more than long enough to explain a couple of things to our dear children.

Here's the deal, kids. We wouldn't have this gray hair and those worry lines if we were, say, vacationing on the beach all alone these past 18 years.

And if you love us you will never, ever again ask to go to Disney World. Blame it on post-traveling stress disorder, but just the thought of it gives us the shakes.

1 comment :

  1. what a funny post... makes me feel that i am not alone. i will be traveling this April with my baby... it's our first plane ride... short ride, but hopefully sweet! :)wish me luck!