I was lucky enough to find really cheap airline tickets to Texas and so the girls and I took off to Wills Point to see the whole family. Flying is so much better than driving, especially when I have to do it by myself. But, if you have children, you know that traveling of any kind is always a chore. Here is what it is like to travel via airplane, alone, with my two girls. I'm not writing to tell you about the horrors of it. On the contrary, I think they are actually pretty good, comparatively speaking. But, that doesn't mean it's easy. Here is a little bit of what we dealt with on this particular trip.
1. Getting two little girls through an airport is an experience in and of itself. Let's add to that the fact that now it costs a billion dollars to check even a single bag. So, since I am unwilling to pay any more for something that is so costly anyway, I chose to roll my suitcases through the airport. Correction. Hope rolled her own little bag, offering enormous help to me since Bella would rather wander aimlessly than cut a straight path to our gate. She occupied my one free hand, as I used it to either balance her on my hip or hold tightly to her own chubby little hand. (For those of you wondering why we didn't simply put her in the stroller...I bucked the system and opted out of the stroller because, quite frankly, it sometimes seems to be counterproductive to me. Rolling a suitcase with one hand and trying to steer a stroller with the other is always frustrating to me and I figured we would just take advantage of Bella's ability to walk and take our time getting to our gate. It worked out fine.)
2. One of the comics on "Last Comic Standing" made me think of this, so I can't claim credit for coming up with it, but, it still proved to be true for me so I will share it anyway. You know how there are always those people that come on a plane after you are on and situated and, despite all your good faith in our fellow man, you think to yourself, "Please don't let them be sitting in my row." For me, it is more about wanting my space...wanting my kids to have space. This time, though, I realized that I am that person. People watch me get on the plane with my two adorable children and I know that they think, "Please don't let the lady with the two kids be next to me." I really don't blame them, though. After all, they don't know how brilliant my kids are and what a privilege it is to share even a bit of life with them. :)
3. Bella won't be two until December so you know what that means...a free ticket! I am incredibly grateful for that, but let me tell you, we pay dearly for that ticket. In the real world, no one in their right mind would try to contain a twenty month old child on their lap for the better part of two and half hours. In the world of airlines, that is apparently a perfectly reasonable expectation. I consider it very lucky that Bella slept for an hour of our ride even though that meant that one whole side of my body went completely numb from trying not to stir. That hour was also the prime opportunity to learn that the combination of your sweat and your baby's super soft hair laying on your skin feels like someone is scrubbing you down with a brillow pad. I'll take it over crying, can't wait to get down, flailing baby anyday, though. I just choose to think of it an exfoliating treatment for the crook of my one numb arm.
4. Finally, Hope has become somewhat obsessed with death in recent weeks. It's not as horrible as it may sound. We have had a lot of great conversations about God and about what happens when you die. But, because of this obsession, it means that Hope worries a bit about flying. To her credit, she hops right on the plane without a fight. When we get on, though, she immediately pulls out the instructional card in the seatback pocket and "reads" (i.e. studies all the pictures) it cover to cover. She asks animated, detailed questions about how she should brace herself if we land in the water and where, exactly, the handles are that she has to put her hands in if she needs to use her seat as a flotation device. Then, she holds very tightly to me during the take off, somehow managing to plug her ears at the same time, and doesn't let go for the first ten minutes or so of our flight. If we are on a small plane (and we often are since we fly out of Colorado Springs a lot) she is even more nervous because you can feel every turn the pilot makes. These turns cause her to ask, rather loudly, "Are we going down, mom?!?", no doubt making everyone else nervous, too. She relaxes after a while and then, to my surprise, she braces herself for the landing and laughs hysterically when we finally touch the ground. I haven't decided if this is a laughter born out of immense relief or if it might be a telltale sign that she is, as we have often expected, an adrenaline junkie. Either way, flying with Hope is quite the experience.
My kids are great travelers. They really are. We have asked them to go places, and to do far more than the average kid ever has to do, as far as traveling goes. They are great about it, and it is almost always some kind of an adventure. And, when I really think about it, traveling is all about adventure, right? I'm sure some would say that a trip to Wills Point, Texas, doesn't really count as an adventure. Those people have obviously never traveled there with my kids.