This week I’m traveling with two of my three sons and meeting my husband and third son at our destination. (Condensed reason: they went skiing first for a few days, but the rest of us could not join them so they are meeting us). What this means is that I have to navigate the airport, check-in, and luggage without my husband’s help.
Not a big deal because my sons are 9 and 15. It’s not like the days when we traveled with three kids under the age of 7. We’d board the airplane with our carry-ons, diaper bag, and three rowdy boys and I’d look down the aisle, watching everyone’s face register the same expression. You know, that worried, clenched look that says, “Please God, don’t let that family sit anywhere near me.” When the plane would land, and if our boys miraculously behaved (or slept), we’d receive those relieved compliments from the closest seated passengers who said, “Oh your boys were so GOOD.” I’d calmly reply, “yeah, Benadryl works great when we want to sedate them.”
With this trip, even though they are older, I’m still nervous. Not about their behavior on the plane, although depending on their maturity level that day, there’s still a possibility of a scene erupting. I’m more concerned about the downtime in the airport. Little Dude is actually worried too, because he asked me this question the other day:
“Mom, what happens if you have to go to the bathroom while we’re in the airport?”
At first I didn’t understand his question. I do have a weak bladder, especially when I’ve had my morning iced tea, but that’s not what he was getting at. He explained further:
“I don’t want to stand outside the bathroom while you are in there.”
Ah ha! Now, I get it. And, he was right. This is an issue.
In general, I am not all that paranoid about someone snatching my kid. Unless I’m in an airport. Even when I’m traveling with my husband, I don’t want either of us to let our kids out of our sight. Of course, bathroom runs are not an issue if my husband is with us. He takes the boys into the men’s room. They all wait for me when I go to the ladies room.
But, what is a mom to boys supposed to do when she is traveling alone with them?
And let’s assume there are no family restrooms in sight, which I happen to know is a sure thing in this case. I know you’re thinking I can leave my 9-year old with my mature, responsible 15-year old. Yeah, maybe. Except my 15-year old has played a few too many jokes on Little Dude and he’s not comfortable trusting his big brother in an unknown environment. And maybe the fact that we once lost Little Dude during a vacation in Costa Rica has something to do with his paranoia about being lost. (I swear it wasn’t my fault and we only lost him for a few minutes!).
So, another option would be to take Little Dude into the bathroom with me, disregarding the judgmental stares from the other ladies that I should not be taking my 9-year old into the bathroom with me. But, then that leaves my practical-joking-wandering-15-year-old-who-lost-his-cell-phone-last-week alone in an airport. Still not comfortable doing that either.
There’s only one solution, which I told Little Dude to calm his nerves: I won’t go to the bathroom until we board the plane.
Which means I’ll have to skip my iced tea that morning and hope my pea-sized bladder can make it that long. Good times.
So if you happen to be traveling this week and see a caffeine-deprived woman sitting next to her two boys at the gate with her legs crossed, you’ll know it’s me.