Saturday, December 3, 2011
Written Friday, in flight:
As any parent will attest, there is nothing quite like flying with children. As I follow (via blogs and other internet sources) parents with significantly more children than I have, it is silly to make much of the number of children.
However I do have to say that I have never had as nice as an experience as a mother, as I had this morning at Richmond International Airport in Virginia.
Imagine, we woke the kids up at 3 AM this morning, drove to the airport and arrived approximately 4:30 AM for a 5:50 flight through Pittsburgh. Upon arriving a porter offered to help get our things in, often we say no thank you but this morning it was worth the tip to get all our stuff (3 ski bags and 9 other bags plus two car seats) into the building. And then my husband disappeared to park the “bus.” All our check in information was with Tim. I wasn’t even sure where we were connecting or exactly what time we were leaving (yes this is how my marriage operates and I have learned to live with it.) Eventually I called Tim because it had been a while “I’ve gotten the bus stuck and I’m trying to figure it out” came a very terse answer (as in he didn’t even say hello) so I paid the porter and told him we would be a while as I can’t check in without the husband.
*I found out later as he related the story to some of the coaches, he was so stuck that the police had to help him.*
So it was a little while – the kids are camped out in one of the sections of chairs and the two little ones are playing and the older ones are sort of spaced out. It is 4:40 AM after all. And finally one of the women working the counter comes to ask me if those are my bags. “Yes” I answer. “well I had to ask because if they sit there unattended I have to call the police.” Yeah, that isn’t news lady. I’m in the building, if you think it would be better if I took the kids over there and camped out in front of your line I can do that. Only I just think that and smile at her. “They are ours.” “Well are you going to check in?”
“I’m waiting for my husband who is parking the car.”
She walks away.
About 10 minutes later a gentleman walks over, “ma’am which flight are you on?” I hate this. “Um, I’m not exactly sure, our final destination is Denver.” So are you on the 5:30 through Charlotte? No, we aren’t going through Charlotte. I do know that. “So you are on the 5:50 through Pittsburg?” Probably. “Well ma’am that is a lot of bags and we are getting to that time…”
And just then the husband walks through the door.
And so the bags get checked in and we get our passes and head towards security. Upon reaching security I remind the kids that the TSA Officer will need to ask them each their names. So she asks Bitsy first and Bitsy won’t answer, so she asks Dragon what is Bitsy’s name. Dragon says “Izzy” which of course is not on a printed ticket as it isn’t her legal name. So the officer asks Dragon what is “Izzy” short for and the kid doesn’t know… So K comes to the rescue. And in the middle of this a flight crew comes zipping through and one of them has her pass in a plastic sleeve and the TSA officer requests that she remove the pass so that the little light can shine on it like it is supposed to. The Crew member throws her stuff to the side and gets all huffy. The TSA officer doesn’t skip a beat. “Ma’am you may speak to my superior if you would like, I must request that you remover your badge from the plastic sleeve.” And in the next breath asks MLyons what her name is. It is discovered that we don’t have a boarding pass for MLyons. So the husband grabs his boarding pass, hands off his computer backpack and roll on bag filled with “crazy diet approved” snacks to Dragon and takes of with MLyons. I am standing there with K, 13 Tiger, 11, Dragon 9, Bitsy 5, and Little Hawk 2 and two bags full of electronics (we are Yateses) and however other many bags and jackets. And immediately I have help. There are TSA adgents helping pull out computers and helping get kids jackets into bins and helping push things through and sweetly directing the small children and older children through security and then once cleared helping us move bins to benches and corral children and seriously I could have cried. It is 5 AM and I haven’t had coffee yet and these kind souls are getting me through what could have been (and has been at other times in the past) a frustrating process.
So a shout out to TSA in Richmond. THANK YOU! You made my day. And as a traveler who fully remembers 9/11 thank you for making crew members follow the security procedures. Yes they are a pain, but I still want to feel as safe as possible.
It was a bit of a rush from the first flight to the second and in making our way to the second gate I lost sight of Tiger. Tim was at the gate showing boarding passes (I mentioned we were rushed?) and I can’t find Tiger. I did find him in a minute, he’s walked passed the gate, but there was that one second scare and all around me men are counting my kids and shaking their heads.
[It reminds me of “No Biking in the House without a Helmet” when they were on a flight (with 9 kids) and someone asked one of the boys the name of their organization and the boy answered with the family name… and at the end of the flight the man stood up and shook her husband’s hand “sir, I just want to shake your hand.”]
Currently it is 8:54 AM and I am on my second flight. The husband, God love him, travels enough to receive an upgrade to first class. And so he gave it to me. Bitsy and I are sitting in first class where I was given my coffe before we took off, and we are now sipping orange juices and waiting on our complimentary French toast. It is Bitsy’s first first class experience. She had a moment on the ground while we were waiting to taxi, she is tired, hungry and still more of a toddler than a little kid, and she wanted her breakfast NOW. And I said “Bitsy, you are in a princess seat. If you are going to act like that you can go sit in the back with daddy where there isn’t any juice and I can bring up a different princess.” She got it. Immediately. And that was that.
It is a 4 hour plane ride. After about the 3rd hour, we'd played on the ipad, watched movies, played finger games, gone to the bathroom a bizillion times, spilt our orange juice, she notices a door.
"Mommy, what is behind that door?"
"Oh, the pilots baby. They are flying the plane."
Big black eyes look at me with concern, "but Mommy. I don't like pirates!"
It is 9:28 PM. I’m in the condo with Bitsy and Little Hawk. EPIC MOM FAIL! I did not pack diapers, wipes and pull ups because we were crammed for space. After arriving at Denver Airport we stopped at Walmart, Costco and Whole Foods and I did not think to BUY these items at any of those stores. Little Hawk is supposed to go to day care tomorrow and I cannot pack him a proper diaper bag! MLyons is going to pee the bed tonight. WHAT WAS I THINKING?