Flying With Children
I didn’t think about it until we were going out the door: I had two large bags to check, two bags to carry on, a backpack for each of the boys, my 7-month pregnant belly, and a 2 1/2 year old who would need to ride on my back once Micah got us to the airport and headed home. Clearly I had not done my math very well.
But we made it. Manchild pulled one of the bags through the terminal. We tried not to get impatient as we waited in the longest security-check line I have ever been in, already an hour past dinner and getting cranky. We rejoiced when my sister appeared in the line behind us.
We made it through the line, made it to the gate, made it with enough time to eat half our bagels before boarding the plane. And then when they called for families with children to board, we discovered that I’d misplaced our boarding passes somewhere between getting my shoes back on and sitting down to my bagel sandwich. It was a minor disruption, but one that, I’m sure, the people in line behind us were not excited about.
But then we sat down. Buckled up. Pushed the bags under the chairs. Time to relax, right? Not so much. Not when the 5-year-old has two “emergency” visits to the restroom before the fasten seatbelt light went off. Not when the 2 1/2-year-old had no concept of, “You need to stay buckled up.” Not when the kids have learned how to change the channel on the seatback “computers” (I tried to explain what a tv is but they didn’t get it) and I am constantly trying to get them to either turn it off or leave it on something fairly benign. Like hockey.
But then the snack basket passes by. We get our tiny cans of orange juice. Squish tries to lie down and close his eyes, but gives it only a half-hearted attempt. My brain clicks back on. “Time for bed, boys. Let’s read a story, turn out the lights, and you can go to sleep.” I read a chapter of Stuart Little to them across the row. Squish insists on a reading of Drummer Hoff as well. I turn the lights off and they are gone. They sleep peacefully while I snap a dozen pictures of them. They don’t notice the cat meowing several rows up. They are oblivious to the cries of other children. They let me have my peace while I munch on a brownie my sister passes me from across the aisle.
They wake up as we begin our decent to the airport. I point out the city lights below. Squish is fascinated. “The city! The city!” He repeats every time he sees the lights, and, once again, getting him to stay in his seatbelt is about as easy as holding on to a greased pig. The Great Salt Lake appears below us and the boys are thrilled. “We’re going to land in the ocean! We’re going to land in the ocean!”
Hahaha. I hope not. “It’s a lake, not the ocean.”
“We’re going to land in a lake! We’re going to land in a lake!”
“We’re going to land next to the lake,” I correct. Their enthusiasm is undimmed.
In the car on the way home they rejoiced over every speed limit sign, over all the lights, over being in a car.
By 1:00am they have calmed down. Been changed and read to and sung to and teeth brushed. Even the prospect of sleeping in a bunk bed for the first time isn’t enough to rekindle the fire.