Okay...how many bottles do I need? Swim suits. Can't forget swim suits. Milk. Frozen milk. Shoot...is there a limit? Gotta Google TSA frozen breast milk. We're all good. Thank you, mothers before me! I need ice packs. I can't do this. Okay, I'll bring the stroller...and the car seat. Shoot, I totally forgot socks. I can't do this alone. Did my breast pump get bigger? Emme needs a jacket. Jack needs a hat. Mittens? How am I going to do this?
My inner monologue while packing for a recent trip likely was not a model in optimistic thinking. Half empty. No, that's not exactly right. My glass was feeling like it had sprung a leak. A slow leak, but I couldn't find it. And how could I patch it without finding it? Yep, that's a much better analogy.
Flying with a child is a daunting task. Some of you are likely rolling your eyes, saying been there, done that. In fact, I do it often. It's not that bad. Or maybe you're thinking, stop with your First World problems, I'd love to fly away right about now. Points taken.
But even though my brain knows all that stuff, I was stressed.
On our way to our destination, my husband and I had to fly on different days. He took Jack and I took Emme. I had a lot of stuff. My mother-in-law is a flight attendant and was flying out that day too so she was actually able to help me to the gate. Life seemed doable. I mean I still looked like a hot mess and felt like I was leaving a trail of bread crumbs (if bread crumbs were personal, baby items) throughout the airport.
Then she had to leave. I found myself trying to move a jogging stroller through a small space while carrying multiple bags. I was still okay. But Emme wanted to be held. So I did. A nice woman who was impeccably dressed (I was jealous in my sloppiness) asked me how old she was and commented about flying with her own child. It was sweet to know she was in the club.
Then I got to the bottom of the jet bridge. How was I going to remove the car seat (which requires two hands) while also holding Emme. Sure I could put her back in the seat, listen to her cry, then remove the seat, then breakdown the stroller. That's what I was all ready to do when two people came to my aid. An older man started trying to help with the stroller which was so sweet even though he didn't entirely understand how the darn thing worked - I can relate. And then that woman who had the clothes of a businesswoman but the eyes of a mom, looked at me and put her arms out. "If you don't mind," I said as I handed her my little girl and quickly got everything situated.
Before I had children I don't know if I was always as kind and aware of that mother quietly trying to hold everything together. I should have been. I am now.
While preparing for the trip, I had planned to do it all myself. I forgot the x factor. We don't live in this world alone. Sometimes we just have to open our eyes and receive the goodness around us.