This morning I woke up to the soft tweeting of birds and the crisp, fresh air that engulfs my mother’s home that sits at the base of the Santa Cruz mountains. As I type this, the kids are in the back yard playing, Beau is sleeping, and the laundry is finishing it’s first cycle merely feet from where I sit.
For however long it lasts, life is easy and boy did we need the reprieve.
We arrived in California on Saturday night after 10 hours of travel, just the kids and I. We’re pretty used to the airport shuffle after three years of doing it on our own. It’s actually much easier now that I’ve learned the rules and timing of everything… Security, seatbelt lights and bathroom trips are our usual snags, but the older they get the smoother things roll. So far, anyway.
I was so terrified to fly alone with all three. Scared in the sense that I don’t know how I would handle everything-all circumstances considered. I find that as a parent I don’t actually fear situations with the kids any more (adventures alone on the subway and NYC MTA took care of), it’s really ME I worry about. I know that I can handle most situations, it’s whether or not I allow the stress of it to get to me. Ever since I had my first anxiety attack, I’ve tried to be in touch with the way my body reacts to stress, sometimes I can manage it and others I can’t. It’s a work in progress.
We rented a minivan the morning of our flight. It was the first time we have had all three kids in car seats in one vehicle, and can I tell you it was fantastic. All three children safely secured in one place? I totally understand minivan drivers now. And I want one.
We arrived at the airport with two hours to spare. Lucky for us, JFK was very quiet-something I’ve never seen before. There wasn’t even a line at security, which is easily one of the most stressful parts of travel when I go alone with the kids. Justin helped us as far as he could, and then stayed behind the roped-off area watching me unload all of our stuff into what felt like 18 bins. Traveling with two small children, an infant, a double stroller, a laptop, iPad, two iTouch’s, an iPhone, a breast pump, a DSLR and all of their corresponding cords is A LOT FOR ONE ADULT.
After I had unloaded everything into the bins, the security agent saw Justin standing there and asked why he didn’t have a Gate Pass. A GATE PASS, people! I’ve been traveling alone with children for three years and am now just learning about the gate pass. We got one for him-painlessly-and he walked us to our gate. Mind blowing, really.
The kids settled into their seats nicely once we boarded. I brought popcorn and downloaded a movie on the iPad for them to watch for a couple hours after we ate dinner. Beau did really well until his usual witching hour, which kept us and the entire plane awake for two hours. The flight attendants were amazing-checked in on me frequently and even held Beau when I needed to help Zoe go potty (two person rule for the bathrooms on an airplane. Babies included). Once Beau got tired of screaming and fell asleep, I ordered a little snack box for myself and the attendant brought me a beer on the house. Really. I don’t drink frequently, but this beer was probably the best tasting beverage I’ve had in a very long time.
It didn’t take long after we got to my mom’s house for me to collapse in the arms of my mother and sister. I go and go and go and go in NYC without stopping to feel sad, or lonely or miss my people here in California for too long. I’m just too busy for that. I too many people under my wing that I’m responsible for keeping happy, clean and fed. And that’s OK, but it’s exactly why we’re here right now.
Filling our family love tank. I never even stopped to see that I was in the red.
We just got here. There’s still so many people to see, but we’re taking our time and filling reserves.