The Husband and I love to do lots of things that are not what you would consider--uncomplicated--with children. We have always had an unspoken pact that we would never give up our “loves” or “doing-what-we-do’s.” Having children would certainly not hinder our fun. The Husband and I love to snowboard. So, we stuck Number 1 in ski school at the age of 2. We love to travel. All of our children have been to more states and on more planes, trains and automobiles than most people have the opportunity to go on their whole lives. Now, at 6, Number 1 shreds the double black diamonds with mommy and daddy like a champ and getting on a plane is as commonplace as riding a bike. This pact the Husband and I have lends itself to some stressful situations, but when I step back and see the big picture it is all worth it.
I will never forget when we flew to Park City, Utah for a snowboarding trip. Baby Girl was only 3 and Number 2 was a newborn. Believe me, Number 2 was VERY difficult as a baby. Cried ALL the time. Pretty much, he cried and screamed until he was 18 months old and then that turned into a communicative whine, which still persists to this day. So…I knew the fact that I would be flying back to North Carolina with the 2 of them by myself because the Husband would stay behind for work, was NOT going to be a vacation. But it would be worth it, right? Snowboarding in one of our very favorite places in the country and visiting with some of our favorite people…totally worth it. The Husband did what he could to get us all set up at the airport. I had Baby in the b’jorn. Ready to go. We walk into the plane, head to find a seat together and baby starts to scream, for no reason, at the first step onto the plane. Really? Already? Oh, the terrified stares from other passengers: “PLEASE don’t sit by me!“ The avoiding glares ahead into nothingness: “Maybe if I don’t look at her and look really busy staring at nothing, she will keep moving.” I know both of those well, I do them too, when I am not traveling with my own miniature crewe. I found my place in the very rear of the plane, hoping that it would be loud enough back there for the crying to be muffled by the engine. And maybe…just maybe…the sound would lull him to sleep. Let me just say, Utah to North Carolina is a very very very long flight! He cried…the whole way. He threw up…everywhere. I paced back and forth the skinny little aisle with him for what seemed like hours. I did all I could do in the small space we had to make it better for him and for everyone else. Sweet Baby Girl was so good. She sat quietly coloring and watching movies on the computer. I yelled at her for every little thing because my nerves where completely shot; she did not deserve it. She was so good. But I couldn’t yell at Number 2, he was a baby…well, and too loud to hear me anyway. So, she got the frustration from Truthful Mommy. And do you know what she said to me when we landed and everything settled down? “You might just be the best mommy ever!” Tears welled up in my eyes, I was so stressed, and so undeserving of her unconditional love. This is what it is all about. So Baby cried. So other passengers where temporarily distracted. So my nerves were stretched to new lengths that day. THIS is what it is all about. My sweet baby girl, there with just the right words to bring me back to my purpose. My kids were safe, we were home, and the week we had in Utah was amazing.
Honestly, the stressful moments are typically forgotten. And for certain they do not hinder us from doing it time and time again. Everytime I am preparing for another trip with the kids where, at some point, I will undoubtedly be flying back with them alone, people ask me, “Didn’t you say you would never do that to yourself again?” Isn’t it funny the things we forget? A bit like childbirth, I suppose. It is the end results and the memories that we make that we talk about for years and cherish.
I am on a flight to Texas as we speak…BY MYSELF…to visit my beautiful sister. I have been looking forward to this trip for weeks. The luxury. To read a book, write some blogs, edit some pictures, have uninterrupted adult time with my sis. No yelling, no fighting at the dinner table, no diapers to change, noses to wipe, whining to nip, other bodies to bathe, nothing for one whole week. But I was walking through the airport in Baltimore and I hear melt-down sized cries from a nearby toddler. Do you know what I was thinking?? NOT, “Ha Ha, better her than me!” Nope, she was a lucky girl. To have that sweet baby to hold and to comfort. Knowing nothing will do but mommy’s hug. And to have the blessing of experiencing whatever adventure they were about to embark upon together. The melt down will stop and the adventure will be amazing.
Don’t let your kids dictate your life. Let them become a part of the wonderful life that you and your husband already have together!! Give them the opportunity to enjoy what you enjoy. It is some of the best advice I can give you.