Prepare for Take Off – It is Going to be a Bumpy Ride

Posted by mwallach on January 29, 2011 in Crazy Follows Me Everywhere, My Kids, Tribe Members |
 Dear That’s Life,

There is a distinct difference between a vacation and a family trip. A vacation is when you go somewhere, wile away your cares, skip the laundry and sit on a beach drinking a mai tai. Okay — maybe I’m projecting. It does not have to be exactly like that, but a vacation is something that simply allows you to decompress. 

On the other hand, there is the family trip. Also enjoyable but for other reasons. The packing/repacking, the diapers, juice boxes and laundry… None of it ends when you reach your destination. Whether you flew, drove or took the train, travelling as a family requires different preparations and expectations. There will, however, be memories to last a lifetime, including pictures and souvenirs that will serve as reminders of wonderful moments and quality family time. 

Flying with children can also be a challenge and often an adventure. Having read an article many years ago on flying as a family, I make it a point to thank the people around us for their patience and understanding. It is difficult for kids to stay seated and quiet for hours, regardless of how many toys and distractions you bring along. While we are all in this together and no one is getting off mid-flight to catch a better ride, it is still appropriate to show your appreciation to your fellow passengers. 

You also hope that even if other passengers are not as understanding as you would hope when your baby cries or your small child screams that he has to go to the bathroom now, you will at least have support from your fellow tribe members on the plane. Yes, the people located in front of us looked to change their seats. They did it, however, by politely asking the flight attendants and not by shooting us nasty glances. I might have asked to have my seat changed as well if I was flying alone. Other people on board, including some of the flight attendants, actually commented that my kids were behaving very nicely. 

When a woman wearing a sheitel gave me dirty looks, I didn’t take her seriously.

Maybe it was because she was travelling with her son who kept on checking out what my kids were watching because there was no video on the flight. Maybe it was because I figured that, as a parent, she could appreciate that children on a flight to Florida with friends might be excited and maybe she should just cut us some slack. Or maybe, just maybe, it was because she kept switching back and forth between saying tehillim and reading Cosmo. (I am sure she was reading it for its very informative articles with their even more interesting titles.)

I could, if space allowed, go into detail as to the words that she and I exchanged. I can tell you that she said that the entire plane was staring at me. I corrected her and explained that the other passengers were, in fact, staring at her.

There were empty seats available in the rear of the plane, I said, and if she wanted to, she should feel free to move. Given the size of my group I was in no position to move anywhere. I wanted her to know, however, that while I thanked the passengers around us for their patience, I could not thank her because she had no patience at all.

Having already given a pretty good synopsis of the event, the best moment was when she jumped up to get something from her overhead bin and her son asked her what she was doing. As she grabbed her iPod from her bag, she exclaimed, “I cannot stand this noise!” Looking around him and slightly perplexed, he looked at his mother and said, “What noise?”


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