We recently flew back to Maryland for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. When I say “we” I mean all eight of us on an airplane. I would be lying if I said I was anything but fearful of Vance and Sadie on an airplane for 5 hours. I could taste the bile in my throat when I imagined us flying through the air while the two youngest began a coup against Brian and I. The thought of us being asked to never fly US Airways haunted my dreams in the weeks leading up to the trip. The irony of such dread is that when we imagine horrendous things happening, they don’t. The kids were champs. All six flew like we do this sort of thing every weekend.
The visit as well was a huge blessing as we enjoyed family and were able to witness what true love looks like after 50 years. It was amazing. The enjoyable visit and memories of the flight out seven days prior didn’t have me worried a bit. I had planned to keep the kids awake on the drive to the airport so that they would sleep on the plane. It was obvious as the time was approaching to board that Vance and Sadie were tired and restless. They were beginning to fuss and to fight with one another. US Airways, for some ridiculous reason, thinks that families with young children shouldn’t get on the plane before their other passengers. I guess they think that people enjoy being bumped with carseats and carry-ons dangling from parents too full arms. As we boarded with the rest of the general public, I was leading the charge carrying a carseat and two carry-ons. We had a duckling line going behind me with Vance and Sadie vying for the position directly behind me. Jace and Brian were bringing up the rear with the other carseat and additional carry-ons. Sadie and Vance’s argument escalated as we made our way down the aisle. I am breaking a sweat not only from all the baggage but also because of the judgement written on everyone’s faces. Sadie after repeatedly ramming my backside breaks through my legs and begins to scream, “I want you.” I can’t pick her up and she refuses to walk putting the entire boarding process at a standstill. Brian can’t rescue me because he’s stuck behind me and the sweat increases. A saintly young man, a true God-send, takes the carseat for me so I can get Sadie and risks not being able to make it back to his own seat against the flow of traffic to assist me. We were given three rows of seats on the right side of the plane to accommodate our entourage. Three, three, and two. In my haste and exasperation I tell the young man the seat numbers I had reserved for the older kids so that no one would have to endure Vance or Sadie’s kicks on the backs of their seats. As I’m trying to get everyone where they need to be Sadie is still melting down in her temporary seat. The “charming” lady in front of me let me know that she could not have “that child” sit behind her the whole trip. I assured her that I was trying to reposition seats and this was only momentarily, but she continued to express her unhappiness. Finally we got everyone where they needed to be and I knew as soon as the plane moved the two youngest would be asleep, but there were some minor problems that needed to be taken care of leaving us on the tarmac for an hour. Sadie was irritable and vocal, but not as much as the biddy seated in front of Jace and Brynna. Any time Sadie would make a noise she shot around and gave us dirty looks with her large Betty-Davis-eyes and continuously called Sadie names. It was a miserable flight. All I had imagined in the weeks leading up to the trip came true on the return home. Obscene amounts of bathroom trips. Vance peeing on my foot. Drinks spilled. Inability to sleep. Seat neighbors with little to no patience. There I was my people-pleasing personality, apologizing, smiling, and desiring so much to make it right for everyone, but unable to make anyone happy.
Sometimes I can make being a mother to six look easy and other days people get to see the chaos this life truly contains. Lives overlap, especially in coach, and we need to determine how we will react to the exposure. I really wish that nasty lady instead of turning around and saying in front of my older children what a brat their younger sister was, she had said, tell your mom thanks for sitting you older well-behaved kids behind me, but she didn’t. Regardless of what was said and done, my children learned a lesson that day; continuing to smile and keeping your cool, allows those around you to see where the true problem lies. The way it pisses off the person wishing you and your family would drop from the sky is a huge bonus!