I do a lot of traveling with the kids. I suppose it’s a function of having my heart in two places, of straddling the country to make my family feel whole. So here we are in Ontario again, and this time I made the cross-country trip alone with the kids. It was my first time traveling alone with all three, and it went way better than I expected; even though I generally dislike the upset of travel, once we’re through security I tend to take a “que sera, sera” approach. Flight delayed? Oh well, not much I can do. Kids walking at a snail’s pace? People can go around. I wish I was better at applying this to the rest of my life. There’s something about being trapped in an airport that invites surrender, at least it does for me.
Something that really struck me on this trip, and maybe it’s because I was the crazy lady traveling alone with three small children, is the way parents look out for other parents in this situation more than in any other. On our flight from Whitehorse to Vancouver, a woman pacing the aisle trying to settle her baby stopped to offer her husband’s help to me if I needed it. In the Vancouver airport, when all three kids fell asleep just 20 minutes before boarding our (delayed) 11pm flight (can’t blame them) a business woman traveling alone offered to help me any way she could. It’s my way to turn down help at every chance, of course, because people obviously don’t actually want to help (haha) but I literally could not get all three sleeping children onto the plane alone. So she wheeled Aedan in the umbrella stroller while I carried the other two, and then when we had to check the stroller, she carried Aedan to our seat. As we wove our way together down the narrow aisle, she told me that her youngest two were twins, so she understood what it was to have too few hands for a task. I thanked her and she disappeared into business class. As I sat between my sleeping boys, Charlotte asleep in my lap, a man stopped by our row. “How are yours? My kids are still awake! It’s so late! Where’s the Ativan when you need it?” We laughed together and I wished him luck. At every stop, it seemed there was a sympathetic parent ready to help. It warmed my heart, and I know that if I’m every a business lady traveling alone, I’ll go out of my way to help any and every frazzled, struggling parent I can.
Parenting littles is hard. Traveling with them is harder. Let’s look out for each other!
Image via Flickr user Yuichi Yasuda