We’ve all been there. And we’ve sat on one side of the aisle or the other. We’ve been the parent of a child or children traveling by plane, or we haven’t been.
Deep words… right? But you know what I’m talking about!
I used to love to fly, back in the late seventies. Remember when you boarded the plane, carrying half the items from your house with you? You crammed them into the overhead storage, holding the doors shut and hoping they wouldn’t pop open. You checked in the other half of your house. If you were on a long flight, they served a leisurely meal, asked if you would like a drink…anything of your choice. They stocked the beverage aisle of a grocery store on those jets. Then you could watch a movie, take a nap…and they even offered you hearing devices, pillows and blankets at no extra charge. What a concept! Oh, and you could stay dressed before boarding your flight.
Those were the days, and I miss them!
Those were also the days when I didn’t have children.
I really don’t know why I flew so much when our children were young. I was not a career woman, very content to stay home. But I did fly a few times, and once with three children under the age of seven. The youngest two months old. We landed in New Jersey, and that’s a complete post all on its own! Needless to say, I was very happy for a few minutes to have my oldest with me to crawl under the stall door and unlock it so we could use the facilities. I didn’t happen to have change on hand while juggling a baby to pay to use them!
But I digress…again! When you are traveling with children, you board the plane with armor on. You walk that long aisle, trying to focus on your seat assignment, and you make eye contact with no one. Those that see you coming lugging your child, your stroller, car seat and diaper bag, scoot down in their seats and pretend to sleep. Cover their faces with a magazine or begin looking for people to trade seats with. Seriously!
And I have done the same.
While having the privilege to fly child-free a few times, I prayed that family would pass several seats beyond me. I just wanted a few hours all to myself. But, as you can guess, I was the lucky one. A little boy of about three was my seat companion for one flight. He was fairly well-behaved, coloring and chattering. I could deal with that. I just went into Mommy-mode once again. The six-year old on another flight that stood on his seat behind me, taking the clip from my hair and spilling juice down my arm was another problem. If the flight hadn’t been so crowded, I would have been begging to trade. I would have even served drinks.
Flying with children is a challenge and I was blessed several times with seat mates that were special. While traveling with our son when he was very small, one older lady actually said out loud…I was shocked…that she was hoping I was next to her so she could travel with a baby. I almost ran because I thought there had to be something wrong with her and I had better protect my child! We sat with her for three hours. She held our son so I could eat, and while he was napping. She even fed him a bottle. We had very pleasant conversation and that flight was a joy! Another flight with our three oldest, a gentleman asked if he could assist me with the diaper bag and car seat on my way off the plane. He said his wife traveled alone with their children and he never understood what she had gone through until he had watched our little family.
The flight attendants were always very helpful and cheerful. Such a need for a worn-out, travel-weary mother.
Yesterday, our second oldest flew with our grandchild for the first time. And yes, she had the same looks. I think it was her second flight that she had the seats to herself and she said that was just fine! Does this little one look like she would give any kind of grief?
Thank you to those of you that see a need and help. And to those that hide and pretend to sleep…I won’t fault you. I understand the fear! Have a great Saturday!