Ready, Set, Relax
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.
glad you got the chance to relax, you deserve it!
can’t wait to meet beau and the gang come july…i’ll be in town for a whole month!
I just have to say — hats off to you for making that trip alone with three kids! Truly, truly impressive. May you enjoy every moment of your trip — you’ve earned it 10x over 🙂
(Also, it really does look like nobody else was at JFK in the photos — so odd!)
Love the GATE PASS. My told me about when I traveled with the baby for the first time. Love that the hubs could stay with me until the baby’s last nursing session and my last potty break 😉 It was just me and my 4 month old on a one hour jaunt from LAX to PHX, though. I can’t imagine the strength of spirit it takes to do three across country. Bravo to you mama!!
wow Jessica. good work my friend! miss you in nyc but have the best time. you can handle anything that comes your way. you know that. xo
You are a transplant to New York for the time being, so as the song goes “if you can make it there….you can make it anywhere”…seriously as you said, traveling on the subway has made you a veteran traveler with kids but 10 hours of travel is just awesomely overwhelming.
Motherhood is the sure cure for anxiety attacks…at least it was for me many years ago…along with relaxation techniques and now yoga helps when my grandmother responsibilities overwhelm, also staying busy is good … it seems that is not a problem for you these days.
Love your photos …have a wonderful time in California and I hope you go to In’n Out more than once. Enjoy…
It’s always wonderful when I read any of your posts. I can’t help and feel a little guilty! I’m always stressing myself out! i only have 2 and I don’t do nearly as much as you! you should be proud of yourself …sometimes its better not to reflect on your negative feelings or thoughts…it doesn’t make things easier. your a lot stronget than you give yourself credit for! have fun ad rest and spend some quality time with your family in California!:)
brave you! What is that “leash” your daughter is holding connected to the stroller? Is it, for lack of a better word, a leash so she stays close? I’m intrigued. I would be petrified to travel with 3 alone! Enjoy your trip!
Go you! Airports are so tough and you did it! I so will do that gate pass thing next time. What??? Awesome!
The worst thing that happened to me was when a security guard waved Sophia and Miles through while I was still trying to get Violet out of her seat and send the stroller through and they walked right through and started running towards the gift shop. OMG! I still had to get Violet through. Thankfully the mom who stopped them and the guard who brought them back were both super nice.
I can’t say enough about how helpful other moms and stewards have been when flying with 3.
You made it to all the love. Yay!
You are far more daring than I. I can’t imagine flying with a baby, especially that far!!
A gate pass – ingenious! I’m definitely remembering that one. Love the photos of the three of them on the plane particularly. Congrats on making it there and enjoy your trip.
That picture of Jack holding Beau melts my heart and brings a little happy tear to my eye. Glad that you are able to get some California love and sunshine. 🙂
Beautiful post, Jessica, I loved it. The beer on the house sounds amazing – what great flight attendants. Fill up your tank & enjoy your stay!
Ok first thank you for educating us about the boarding pass. LOL
Second, your a rock star for traveling with 3 kids. I traveled with my son on the plane and I was a nervous wreck. I had the hardier time going to security then he did. He breezed security and his first plane ride 🙂 Enjoy your trip with family!
This post hit home and made me miss California something fierce 🙁
I am from Southern California but live on Long Island and I also have 3 kids. I am home sick for my family and my state! Please give California some lovin for me too!!!
You DEFINITELY deserved that beer! 🙂 I had no idea they gave out gate-passes. I travelled with a newborn/toddler so many times & that would have come in handy!
Enjoy your vacation!!
I am beyond impressed! Plus-thank you for giving me another travel tip-a gate pass-I did not know that that was still allowed!
“I never even stopped to see that I was in the red”. What a line. Wow.
Soak it up girl, soak it up. 🙂
As a mother of one I gotta be honest…the thought of handling even a stop at a Starbucks with more than just one makes me want to break out into hives. I love your posts and seeing you do it with such ease and confidence. (Even if you are cringing inside) Well done…Bravo and I envy you.
Jessica, love the pictures! The airport shots are especially cute! It is so nice that the girls are just a little bit older. Just going to the bathroom on a flight used to put me almost in tears 🙂