Saturday, May 14, 2016

Flying Part 1

Tuesday, May 3rd:

I woke up at my mom's house around 5:30am. Couldn't sleep. Too many nerves and too much anxiety over the unknown. I got up, fed Evie, heard one of my parents roaming around in the kitchen and decided to get myself some coffee.

It wasn't long before everyone else in the house awakened. Nobody could really concentrate.

Except for my younger brother, Isaac. He slept through all the noise and commotion. No surprise there.  

I got Landon some breakfast and finished packing our suitcases. Little items like toothbrushes and pajamas had to be shoved into the luggage at the last minute.

Around 8a.m. Alex and my father loaded our junk into a vehicle, and I completed one last diaper change on each of the kids.

Man, I will not miss the diaper days.

Nor will I miss packing for little kids.

Had to have plenty of diapers, plenty of wipes, extra outfits, burp blankets, toys, and dry snacks for each of them.

It was like carrying around a small Toys R Us.

Our checked bags.

Our carry ons. 1 backpack, 1 diaper bag, 1 suitcase, a purse, Buster, and my Ergo carrier.

My family got to our local airport at approximately 8:50am. There were only 2 workers behind our airline counter, so it was slow going getting checked in. I left the stroller and all but our backpack carry ons with my mom and Landon in a sitting area. Easier than having to keep the toddler corralled.

Alex had to show the worker our I.D.s, a copy of our orders so that our bags would be exempt from the weight allowance and so that we wouldn't be charged for having extra. We also had to present all of Buster's papers and pay for him to fly in cabin with us.

The total cost?

$125.00 dollars.

Completely worth it to have our pet make the journey.

After what felt like an eternity, Alex and my dad were cleared to take our bags to the conveyor belt that would direct them to the plane. We were theoretically finished, with about an hour and a half to spare before our flight.

But then, oops.

We forgot to ask someone how gate checking the stroller and carseats would work.

Back in line and back to the counter we went.

Only to be told some unfortunate news.

Our stroller (a double jogging) was too big to be gate checked. We'd need to check it.

This threw a massive monkey wrench in our plans. We were banking on using the stroller to transport the 2 carseats through the terminal. Without it, we'd have to lug everything ourselves.

Not an appealing thought.

But, what else could we do?

Alex was smart and while he was checking the stroller he got passes for my family so that they could come with us past security. That solved the new problem of how we'd get all our things to the gate.

At least for that airport.

We had no clue what we were going to do come layover time.

That entire diversion ate up all our extra time cushion to where we ended up rushing to take Buster to the restroom one last time and get in line for security.

That was definitely an adventure.

I had Evie in the Ergo, had the diaper bag on one shoulder, my purse on the other, and I was pulling the small suitcase with a free hand.

Alex had the backpack, the heavier of the two car seats and Buster in his carrier on his shoulder.

My mom had Landon and her purse.

My dad or Isaac had the second carseat.

At the Xray belt, only one of the carseats would fit through the machine; a TSA agent had to take one and inspect it off to the side. In a bucket, we had to dig into our backpack and pull out our laptop. Then all 5 adults had to take our shoes off and throw them in with our purses/bags/wallets/phones/etc. Poor Alex was wearing his work boots (that way he didn't have to pack them in our carry on) so unlacing them took a hot minute.

We also had to get Buster out of his cage and carry him through the metal detectors.

So, for those keeping track, that was 2 carseats, backpack, diaper bag, suitcase, dog carrier, 2 purses, 5 pairs of shoes, laptop out of its storage compartment, a free roaming toddler, and a dog on the loose that went through the security checkpoint.

I bet reading that sent shivers down your spine, yeah?

Imagine living it.

And let's not forget.

This was my first time flying.


Somehow, someway, we gathered everything back up and walked to our gate. Which was upstairs. All the way at the end.


The time?

About 10:30am.

Other flyers looked at my small circus and their eyes popped out of their head. I swear, I've never received so many dirty looks in my life. I wished I could have held a big sign up that announced:

I was exhausted.

The only good thing about the disaster that was our airport arrival was that I hadn't had much time to process that I was about to get on a plane and leave my family, my home, everything I knew. I wasn't given the opportunity to dwell on how monumentally sad the situation was. It was just succeed from getting from getting to Point A to Point B.

However, once our things were settled in some available chairs and Alex returned from a quick potty break, the airline adventure had to be paused for a moment in order to say goodbye to my family.

It was time for them to leave.

Isaac got my first hug and with it came a few tears.

"Look out the window, look out the window," I told myself.

It helped.

Parting with my parents was harder.

I am extremely close with my parents. My dad's my go-to person for anything household, military, or practical related. If I need to know when to plant tomatoes or how to fix a toilet flapper, he's the go-to guy. He listens to my grand plans about saving money and rescuing the environment, he puts up with my Disney schemes, and he cooperates with what he considers ineffective parenting styles.

My mom is my favorite person in the world outside of my husband and children. She's the first person I tell news to, the last person I'd want to unintentionally hurt, and I was already depressed thinking about how much I'd miss by not living near her anymore. No matter what we did over the years, we had fun simply because we were enjoying each other's company. Hanging out drinking coffee at her coffee table was just as memorable as watching giraffes outside our room at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

When the kids are driving me extra crazy, I simply remind myself that there will be a day when my mom and I get to vacation again with just each other. I'm sure for some daughters that sounds like a nightmare, but for me, there would be nothing better.

The goodbyes were quick and hard. A gut punch to the heart that left me a little sick.

The transition from Florida to Germany aged me several times.

Listening to my 3 year old scream for his Nana to come back was the first.

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