I recently returned from a trip across the country with my mom and Isaac. We went to see my sister – Mom hasn’t seen her since last December and since she isn’t working at the moment I thought it would be a good time for her to go, but she needed a push and a person to help her.
Getting Mom to agree to the trip in the first place took weeks. At first she was excited and then she backed out, stating that she needed to be home to take care of Dad. We finally convinced her that Dad is a big boy and can take care of himself for a week, so we purchased tickets and then there was no backing out.
I actually think the real reason Mom thought twice about this trip is because she has trouble walking – more trouble than I think she really lets on. And I think the only reason she went on the trip was because she values her family and she really wanted to spend some time with her girls.
We left early morning on a Sunday. Mom had been up so several hours, but was alert and happy and ready to go. We got checked into the airport, checked my bag and walked to security, stood in line, walked some more and got to our plane with just enough time to go to the bathroom and then board. We arrived 2 hours early, we were at the first gate outside the train, security did take a bit, but mainly we were slow walkers.
You see – they have services at airports that help those who have trouble walking the distance – they are free, you just have to ask. But Mom is stubborn, she wants to be healed so bad, that she refuses to admit and give into the fact that she is disabled. So she walked.
Not only was I dealing with handicapped Mom, but I was dealing with needed to be alert and aware to Isaacs needs. He was awake much earlier than normal, he wants to wear undies, he wants to get into everything because he is curious. Thankfully, he was strapped to me and was enjoying looking at all the people. I could have never managed the airport with two carry-ons, Mom and her carry-on and a stroller or Isaac walking. And, to help further relieve my stress, when you go through security, you don’t have to take off your carrier or baby. Makes life much simpler.
With Isaac strapped to me, I realize, if he pees – I’m wet too and I only brought extra clothes for him. All my clothes are in my checked bag. Thankfully, Isaac likes peeing on public potties. The only challenge is removing at least one shoe and he pants/undies from one leg so he can spread wide enough. And he likes to “push the pees out”, so even if he doesn’t have to go, he’ll empty his bladder just so he can flush. I took every opportunity to take him potty, and in general I had to go to, so it worked out. But do you know how many people told me where the changing table was or that I was going the wrong way in the bathroom? Ha! And I’m sure on the airplane people were wondering too, but hey, I wasn’t going to get peed on if I could help it!
Isaac slept most of the trip out to DC, but then we had to catch a second flight to Virginia. Somehow in my short period of time, I managed to get us all pottied and lunch purchased (but not eaten), we then had to load the plane. And this one was tricky. It was a small, small plane, so we had to gate check our carry-ons, but it was also a plane without a JetBridge. Which meant, we had to go outside, walk down a flight of stairs and then leave our luggage to climb the stairs back into the plane. Did I mention that stairs our a challenge for Mom?
I stopped at the top of the stairs to wait for Mom and tell her to leave her bag, I’d come back to it. Everyone else stopped to listen to our conversation. There was plenty of room to go around us, but they preferred to stare at us open mouthed (or so it seemed) and create a traffic jam. Thankfully, one of the ground crew saw me with a baby and ran up the stairs to get my bag and a nice man grabbed Mom’s bag and brought it down for her, which allowed me to assist her with the steps.
Our trip to Viriginia was 28 minutes. We ate, then Isaac was bored, but there isn’t much time to get anything out in 28 minutes, so he cried most of the time, especially because all he wanted to do was stand, so when I couldn’t let him do that he screamed. Poor little guy.
In Norfolk, I got us as quickly as I could to baggage claim, at this point, I’m tired, stressed and ready to just sit and not worry about things. It was raining, so we were waiting for Stacy in the rain, but only drizzle. As I’m trying to install the carseat, it starts raining harder and from all this rushing around I’m hot and sweaty. I was miserable and done. I can explain it beyond that, but I’m sure those of you who have traveled long days with kids can imagine.
Once we got to Stacy’s house, we put Isaac down for a nap and Mom and I tried to watch a movie while Stacy went to the store. Yep, I think I lasted five minutes….Mom lasted longer, but I think even she took a nap.
Our return trip was a bit different. We left in the afternoon, so we got to sleep in. No rushing around. We’d (I) had determined we were getting assistance in the airports.
We arrived at Norfolk with enough time to get lunch before going through security and the airport is small enough that we didn’t need extra help there. But we put it on mom’s ticket, to have someone meet us in Chicago with a wheelchair.
When they announced our arrival gate on the airplane and where our next departure was I told mom, “I don’t know if we even need the wheelchair. It’s so close.” She said, “Oh, it’ll be fun.” What a change from her stance before!
And, man, I was so thankful for that nice young man that navigated us through the ORD. If you’ve ever been to O’Hare, you know it’s BIG and confusing….and despite what they told us on the airplane, our two gates were in two different terminals. Had we not had help:
- I’m sure I would have been lost.
- I’m sure we would have had potty accidents.
- I’m sure it would have taken the entire two hour layover to make it to our gate.
- We would not have had ice cream.
- We would not have been able to hydrate.
- We would have been sore.
- We would have been stressed.
The plane ride to Denver was a little stressful. Isaac had taken a thirty minute nap and was very tired, but very hyper. He didn’t sleep a wink. We had to get potty twice. And they made me hold him during the entire decent and he only wanted to stand on the floor…so screaming ensued for the 20 minute decent…I’m sure everyone around us was thrilled.
He also began screaming again as soon as I strapped him into the ERGO because we weren’t moving. Thankfully we had some really nice men on our flight who got out (both mom’s and my) luggage out of the over head bins and even carried it through the plane for us. So helpful.
When we arrived in Denver we had another chair waiting for us and they took us all the way to the curb. They were so nice! I’m sure my mom will always use them in the future, she had a smile on her face the whole time. Nice end to our week long trip.