I was sad to leave warm weather but looking forward to seeing my husband and have the kids be his problem for a while.
Our flight left later in the day, around 2:00. We planned to pick strawberries at “The Girls” around lunchtime and then head to the airport.
9:23 am: THE DADDY CRISIS AND BUNNY CRISIS RESURFACE TOGETHER AND SPIRAL INTO A HUGE VORTEX OF 3 YEAR OLD MISERY. New toys have been packed in the suitcase and I am rolling our clothes military-style to fit the new wardrobes my children have acquired into the suitcase. (Tip for travel to snowbird country in Florida- you do not need to bring clothing or toys for your children. Scores of retirees you know, don’t know, and sort-of-know will bring new clothes and toys for your children. I would not have been surprised if a stranger in Delray came up and handed me a gift bag with adorable, perfectly-sized summer wear for both kids.)
Out of nowhere, Princess begins sobbing hysterically for Daddy. “Daaaaaaaddddddddeeeeeeeeeeee, come back! I miss Daddy!” she repeats over and over. I calmly explain that we’ll see him in a few hours. We are out of cookies, so I offer ice cream. “I don’t want ice cream, I want Daddy!” Uh oh.
Then, it gets worse. I pause for too long and the next thing out of her mouth is “Mommy, where’s bunny?” I try to distract here with one of her new toys but it is futile. I decide to come clean.
“Bunny stayed home. He missed you a lot, but Daddy’s been taking good care of him. He’s been having a great time.”
Those pics I requested? Daddy sent me a pic of Bunny driving the car and of Bunny pumping gas. Men. Anyway, I showed Princess the pictures, and she seemed okay with it, but went back to demanding that Daddy arrive at the Florida House ASAP.
I explain how the cost and logistics of commercial air travel can be prohibitive. She is irrational and will not accept the reality.
The next almost two solid hours were an outpouring of a week’s worth of missing Daddy and Bunny. There was no getting around it.
I continue packing, realizing that I can do nothing. Mimi and Poppy aren’t quite as used to hysterics. I am confident that if Princess told Poppy she’d stop crying if he got her a car and a diamond necklace, he would have been to a dealership and a jewelry store and back in under twenty minutes.
11:15 am: The hysterics slow to a stop after we decide to have lunch at Wendy’s. This is Princess’s favorite place to eat. Or I should say get a toy and ignore the food. Before we go she needs the ice cream I previously offered. CRISIS RESOLVED.
2:35 pm: After a nice afternoon of strawberry picking and lunch, we arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare. I check our bag curbside and we hug and kiss Mimi and Poppy goodbye and head into the airport. We are going through security and a TSA agent is handing me back all of my belongs. In a demanding but very quiet voice, Princess tells the agent to look at her brother. “Look at this baby!” Of course, the agent doesn’t hear her. She’s angry and asks me, “What is wrong with that guy? He wouldn’t even look at my baby brother and my baby brother is soooooooo cute.
3:15 pm: We’ve used the restroom, bought a souvenir and some candy and, as I mentioned, are sitting in between four gates waiting for our flight to board. I’m smiling and letting Princess loudly sing the “Freeze Dance” song from Fresh Beats while trying to shove baby food into a writhing, loudly unhappy Buster. I can taste the fear of the other passengers. It’s pretty funny.
3:30 pm: Finally, it’s time to board. I watch fear turn to relief on the faces of 3/4 of the passengers around me. We get on the plane after the poor soul who has the aisle seat in our row. I’m holding Buster a little awkwardly and finally get into our seat. I set Buster down, but since he doesn’t understand which seat is ours, I have to hold him in place with my head while I stow our stuff. (Anyone want to back me on a third arm rental for travellers with children? I know there’s a market.) A woman nearby says “Oh goodness, give me that baby.” She offers no help with the bags, and I convince myself that it’s not going to help to punch her in the face. Buster thinks this is all very funny. Princess is busy trying to take all of her toys out of her backpack. Thirty seconds later, we’re seated and stowed and settled. Buster falls asleep shortly after. Even Princess naps a little. The three of us only made one trip to the potty this time. (Still, three people, even mini-people, in one airplane bathroom is tight. Where was that lady who wanted my baby now?!) The rest of the flight is uneventful.
7:25 pm: The hardest part of my flight. We begin our descent into Hartford. There is mild, normal turbulence. Overdramatically bobbing and weaving with the plane, Princess enjoys it. I manage to avoid screaming, “Oh F#$k people! We’re all gonna die!!!”
7:45 pm: We’re almost down to the Hartford airport. The plane banks sharply right. Looking out on city lights from a banking plane is a first for her, so Princess says, “What the…” (I prepare to be mortified. Wait for it, wait for it…) “Heck?!” I am relieved.
8:05 pm: The flight lands right on time. We get off the plane and since my arms are very full, an airline staff member offers to hold Princess’s hand as we walk down the jetway. It takes me a minute, but I glance at her name tag and notice her fancy uniform and realize it’s Kristen, the first female Captain I’ve encountered. I tell her nice flight and tell Princess that she’s holding the hand of the lady who flew the plane. I’m hopeful that this remains as unremarkable and commonplace to her for her whole life as it seems to be now. Way to go Kristen on JetBlue, you made my night. Very cool to come hang out with little girls so they see you.
8:15 pm: My cell phone rings. It’s Daddy, wondering why we’re not at the baggage claim yet. Obviously he has not flown with children.
8:16 pm: Princess runs happily into Daddy’s arms and hugs him and then grabs Bunny, who Daddy’s brought inside. She says “Daddy, never ever let Bunny drive your car or get gas again, ok?” She has repeated this statement at least 35 times since the trip.
The end. 😉