Now this is mildly bearable when I’m alone with her and don’t have to deal with the other kids. Or when I’m able to pass her back and forth to my husband like a game of hot potato. But it’s exactly how I feel on a roller coaster: holding on for dear life until the ride finally stops, hoping that all the contents in my stomach stay there. And also hoping that I have a voice left after screaming the entire time.
So I was pretty sure that a plane ride alone would be about 50 times worse.
When you have no other options, it’s amazing how your survival instinct kicks in. So with three hours of sleep and a Gas-X and Pepto cocktail, I was ready.
But instead of feeling powerless, I felt like I had super powers.
It started with the shuttle driver who couldn’t stop gushing about how awesome my kids were. And he was right, they were pretty awesome, magically sitting quietly in a big van, awoken from a dead sleep at 5 a.m.
Then passers-by at the airport offered me all sorts of support and congratulations, which I generally tend to roll my eyes at because while I appreciate the admiration and how you could never do this and “Wow, you’re my hero!” I’m just a mom with four kids trying to get home without completely losing my sanity.
Yes, it’s true. My vagina is badass! But me? Crazy. Just plain crazy.
But on that day, I decided to soak it in.
Every look of astonishment and loudly voiced compliment was like wind under my invisible cape. I laughed when the flight attendant told me she wasn’t sure whether she should offer me a hug or a drink.
And I only mildly freaked out when the plane’s hydraulic broke, forcing us to taxi back to the gate and delaying us for over an hour.
That’s why they invented individual seat movie screens and Alvin and the Chipmunks:Chipwrecked!
And Ativan. (For me, that is).
Yes, there were still whiny children, orange juice spills and a baby who was not so keen on being buckled in for longer than 30 seconds.
But the satisfaction of knowing that I flew alone with my four kids, who are all under 7, feels like a medal around my neck. A notch in my belt.
And when the passengers walked by us as they exited the plane, dishing out compliments on how awesome my kids were at flying, and how brave I was, instead of my usual “aw, shucks,” I smiled and agreed.
I may not be jumping off cliffs anytime soon, but you try flying alone with four kids. It doesn’t get any more extreme than that.
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