In other words, I lie.
How we define a vacation has changed drastically for my husband and me since we had kids. The lovely trips from our past, where vacations were spent reclining on a beach with a drink in one hand and a book in another are no more. Instead, these delightful visions have been replaced with the realities of what it means to be adequately prepared and flexible during a trip with two young toddlers.
In my mind, any period of time during which I am supposed to be relaxing should not be proceeded by a flight with a toddler. And for good reason. I am still a bit traumatized by our last visit to the airport with my son.
Last summer, my husband and I decided that it was time to head down to Disneyland with the kids. I was convinced that we should not drive. It would be way too much time in the car for everyone involved, including me. I was determined to create as much of a stress-free environment as possible. My plan was full-proof.
In preparing for our trip, I made lists, I packed and repacked, I even shopped Target for handfuls of toys and surprises, guaranteed to keep my children occupied. Without a doubt, my two would be held up as shining examples for model behavior on an airplane to children everywhere.
In reality, we didn’t even make it past the security gate before we had our first major crisis. Given the airline restrictions, I explained to my son that he was welcome to carry his Mater toy truck through the airport, but that once we came to the gate with the men with the “magic wands,” Mater would need to take a ride through the ex-ray tunnel of mystery. It was going to be a new adventure for Mater. I felt confident that explaining the security procedure to my son would guarantee success.
To say that I was wrong would be putting it mildly. As Mater started to move away from our little group, my son got nervous. “They’re taking Mater! They’re taking Mater!” In a flash, he scrambled on top of the conveyer belt and attempted to retrieve his blue truck from certain death. I didn’t know what to do. Honestly, I had never seen my boy move so fast. I did what any mother would and dove after her son.
What a site! There we were, the two of us in the ex-ray machine, with only our feet dangling out. My boy was sobbing from the near loss of his beloved friend and I was awkwardly trying to remove my sunglasses, my boy, and the top half of my body from the giant tunnel.
As I nervously began to try to regain my composure, I turned to one of the security officers and smiled. “This type of thing must happen to you all the time, huh?”
“No, ma’am” was all the reply that I received.
Once we were finally on the plane and I was able to relax with a magazine for the brief 24 minutes of peace that my shopping at Target had earned me, I read an article that described how choosing travel companions is the most important decision you make before embarking on a trip. The story reminded me that I would be spending almost 24 hours a day, day after day, in close quarters with my group, so it's extremely important that everyone's personalities and interests mesh well.
I couldn’t agree more.
Ah Francesca, thank you for this reminder that parent's really DO have the hardest job in the world! Loved your guest post and now I'm off to read Three Bay B Chicks post today! Comment below about some of your worst travel experiences.