Air travel with four young, spirited individuals is its own special form of torture.
Just before take off, Zachary, who hasn’t been feeling quite himself for a week, started begging to “just get off and go home”. The fat, silent, crocodile tears slithering down his cherry red cheeks and his pleading eyes, told me he wasn’t kidding.
This dreamy Hawaiian vacation has been locked into place for 12 solid months. The very idea of relaxing on the pristine Hawaiian beaches, cool, crisp Lava Flow in hand, has been the sole reason I’ve survived most days leading up to today.
Five minutes into the five hour flight, Mr. Grey Hair With Glasses, in front of Lauren wormed around, while peeking between the seats, and with a tight, I’m-so-peeved-to-be-seated-in-front-of-the-ten-and-under-crowd, leathery smile, lectured her about how to gently close her tray table.
I’m seated next to Cinderella’s step sisters. Help me. I cannot fathom why they perpetually argue with each other. But, argue they do. Nonstop. I’m ready to ask to be seated elsewhere. Would that be weird?
Meanwhile, the brothers behind us are actually behaving. The children’s chewable Advil for which we paid top dollar in the airport bookstore seems to have kicked in. Zachary is holding on.
During drink service, the flight attendant takes pity upon us.
“How many do you have?”
“Ohhhhhh my gawwwd!”
I force a small laugh. This is a scenario that has repeated itself dozens of times over the years.
“How old are they?”
I politely list their ages, and don’t even have to pause awkwardly to recall this time. Jovial flight attendant shakes her head and erupts in laughter. She grins a big you’re so nuts, grin.
“What’ll you have to drink?”
She reappears with the biggest little bottle of airplane vino ever. I think it’s nearly full sized. And she’s not even charging us for it. I look behind me, she’s deposited four free beers onto my husband’s plastic tray table. Four?Four!
We must really appear to need outside assistance.
Time passes by shoveling copious amounts of chemically enhanced edibles into our mouths. By the time the fasten seatbelt sign has disappeared, we’ve plowed through gummy bears, Cheez Its, Swedish Fish, Juicy Fruit Starburst flavored gum, strawberry icebreakers, s’mores fishies and Reese’s Pieces.
I hand out the surprises. A My Little Pony coloring book, An American Girl chapter book, level 2 Planes Fire and Rescue reader and Matchbox cars. They devour those too.
Soon we are all jumbled up. Everyone’s playing musical seats. Some are here. Some are there. Lauren, in her sparkly pumps, has been playing flight attendant for the past hour. The sharing of ear buds proves to be a poor way to save a buck.
I tell the kids we aren’t that far away from heaven, way up here. The boys stare at me.
“We’re like an hour away?”, asks Zachary.
I think so.
He adds, “So, God can actually smell us?”
Finally, we start the descent. The 757 floats down. Little blinking eyes peek out the tiny airplane windows. Through the clouds. Down, down, down. With a giant thud onto Earth, we’ve landed. Hello, Hawaii.
I carefully avert my eyes from those around us. Yes, I’m their mother. Please, stop judging me. I tried. Really, I did.
I over hear the man behind my husband say, “Well, it was a pleasure sitting behind these kids”.
He doesn’t know.
The kind gentleman doesn’t realize that I’ve reprimanded my daughters 496 times in 300 minutes. We bag it all up. Hurry. Let’s get out of here before we ruin the well behaved children perception that this misguided sole has.