The surprises of traveling alone with children: You can pack for every contingency… It won’t matter. Just when you think you know what will happen, your children surprise you and do the opposite.
I plan for things when traveling with children.
I’m what you might call, an “over planner”.
I tried to prepare for every possible outcome.
Then something like this happened and negated all of my hard work.
Somehow, the week visiting my family sans CG still miraculously unfolded as one of the best trips I’ve had with my children.
Each night I’d “countdown” to when we’d return home – the past having taught me this is the best way to avoid Freak Out Meltdowns.
“You have six more sleeps until we go back to Texas.”
“NO MOMMY! I don’t want to go back to Texas. We have to stay HERE!”
What the frak?
I was surprised. Never before has he resisted a future change so much, usually filled with excitement over another plane ride.
“You have five more sleeps and we get to ride on an airplane again and see Daddy.”
“No MOMMY! We have to stay here for 60 more years.”
“We get to go home in three sleeps and see Daddy and your friends.” My filled my voice with extreme excitement.
“No MOMMY! We have to stay here for 102 more days!”
I have no clue where these numbers came from, but each time I mentioned our trip, 102 more days was always his retort.
Then the day arrived. I packed.
He didn’t want to go.
He got his wish.
My sister spent most of Wednesday morning in her basement as the tornado sirens went off in Kansas City.
We were supposed to fly out of the Kansas City airport.
I called the airlines.
I waited on hold for 35 minutes.
A person finally answered and I gave them my flight information.
“Here’s the deal. My flight is tonight but we have to leave in about thirty minutes to get there because I’m driving from Iowa. If these storms continue, I’ll be driving through tornado warned storms my entire way through Missouri.”
“I says there are no alerts for the airport, you might have to pay a change fee.”
“Can you just see if there are seats available on the same flight Thursday night?” If there weren’t, I knew the alternative flight times would not work with my children’s schedules.
“Yes, there is room.”
“Is there any way you can waive the fee, because I’m looking at radar with tornadoes…”
“Please hold while I check with a supervisor.”
Fifteen minutes later.
“Yes, we waived the fee and I have you booked on the flight for tomorrow.”
“Yes, there’s a new policy where if you have to drive through bad weather to get there, we’ll make allowances.”
I hung up elated.
For a bit.
I told The Tackler.
“No MOMMY! I don’t want to go home tomorrow, we have to stay here for 102 MORE DAYS!”
I sighed and gave up.
The weather was fine the rest of the day in Kansas City. Just rain. I regretted my decision – mostly because it meant The Tackler missed his “graduation” at his Mother’s Day Out program.
My former flight was 90 minutes late.
I stopped cursing my choice.
Thursday dawned, the most beautiful and perfect day imaginable – weather wise.
My son refused to leave the house and play, as I checked the weather for Texas: 90’s and 100 degrees.
“Please go outside and play. It’ll be hot in Texas.”
“I don’t want to. I want to play Trouble.”
I stopped arguing.
Finally, bribery of chalk and bubbles lured him outside, just before we had to leave.
“It’s time to give everyone and hug and kiss good-bye.”
“But I don’t want to leave…”
Somehow, he composed himself, and hugs and kisses went all around. We waved good-bye. My brother backed out of the driveway (he drove us there).
They had just disappeared from view, when The Tackler turned to me.
“Mimi is going to miss me. I had lots and lots of fun at Mimi’s house. I love Mimi’s toys and her house and her food and her address.”
What the…? Address?
Lil Diva was passed out within the first two miles.
The Tackler took twenty minutes.
Time napped by Lil Diva: 45 minutes = NOT ENOUGH TIME.
We hit the Iowa/Missouri as The Tackler woke up and promptly freaked out.
“I WANNA GO BACK TO MIMI’S HOUSE. I DON’T WANNA GO HOME!” Tears leaked from his eyes as he pleaded to return.
“I’m sorry sweetie. We have plane tickets, Daddy misses you, and I think Mimi is going out of town too.”
We hit the Welcome to Missouri rest stop – the only one with a playground.
I feared Lil Diva needed to poop given her car seat squirming.
She raced around the playground, the blue skies brilliant, the breeze a caress, the temperature perfect.
Her giggles as Uncle D chased her around? Priceless.
The Tackler refused to leave the car.
He pouted. He sulked.
“Why don’t you come outside and play with Uncle D? It’s so nice out and we still have a long drive to the airport.”
“NO! I need to go back to Mimi’s!”
“She’s going to miss me while I’m in Texas. And I miss her.” His eyes watered, more tears rolling from them.
I’d prepared for a lot of things on this trip.
Tears because we had to go home before 102 days passed? No.
Too short car naps? No.
Neither sleeping AT ALL on the plane, even though it was past both their bedtimes? No.
Both children behaving and in good spirits at the airport and on the plane ride in spite of the sleeping failure and ear infections? Definitely not.
I think Murphy felt guilty.
And the instant The Tackler laid eyes on Daddy, you could see the sun shining from them. He almost ran into traffic to greet him.
Ditto for little Diva.
Until they both passed out cold as we sat in insanely bad traffic at 10 PM due to repaving construction, they were balls of glee.
“Momma! Momma!” Lil Diva pointed to CG. “Dad-deeee!”
“Yes, I see Daddy.”
“Momma! Momma! Momma!”
She grinned and pointed again. “DAD-DEEE!”
And so on.
It’s good to be home.
And next time, I’ll work on the 102 day plan.
Or maybe (cough cough)… the family could visit here for a change… (shameless hint).
Happy Friday all!
Did you have a “what the frak?” moment this week?