It was right after games 3 & 4 in Houston a Texas, which were losses by the way, and we were to make our way home from Houston to Oakland on Tuesday evening. My husband had to leave with the team and travel back that morning so I was gifted with a few extra hours to prepare before the girls, our beloved nanny, and myself flew back to Oakland together.
Our nanny is a private woman so I won’t put her business out there, but I will say that she is EFFICIENT. She leaves no stone unturned and she can handle ANY situation she’s put in with the girls. She’s a black belt, a retired deputy, a strong black woman with a heart of gold, and a mother of two herself. She is my saving grace on the days where I smell like spoiled milk and would do just about anything for 15 minutes alone. And she gives my husband and I our dating life back. She’s basically Mrs.Doubtfire. (But actually female)
So needless to say, if I wasn’t traveling with this type of help, I may not have been traveling at all!
I have a precocious, independent two year old, and a vocal two month old so my hands are not only full but also tied.....AT ALL TIMES. Anyway back to my Houston to Oakland journey....
We get to the airport 2 hours before our flight time only to see that our flight is delayed another hour due to weather. If you have children you know it takes an extra 20 minutes to do anything. Even a bathroom break takes forever. So we arrive early because rushing, for me, leads to stressing.
And I work VERY hard not to throw my energy off with things I can control.
After we check in and breeze through security thanks to TSA pre check and a full proof system she and I have developed over the last few trips, we take a nice long walk to tire out Tyler and gander through the airport to check out our options for food and coffee. Ahhhh feels so nice to arrive somewhere early. This was never my M.O. but I’m grateful for it now.
We get our coffee and find a nice spot to perch and people watch as the time rolls on getting closer to our projected boarding time. After two failed attempts of putting Tyler down for a nap, I finally score after holding her and walking through the airport humming Bob Marley lullabies.
One down, one to go.
I feed Jonah and change her diaper because at this point that’s all she needs. She goes down. BOOM. I scored a double.
So we stroll to our gate and enjoy a meal and wait for our plane to arrive. With both babies sleeping we tip our heads back and drift into that Mom slumber. Which isn’t really sleep, more meditation. It’s a skill where you block out your surroundings all while staying alert, holding onto your kids, and closing your eyes with your head erect incase anyone tries you. Mama bear is on 24/7.
I look down at my phone and see it’s 6:20. Our flight is scheduled for 6:30. I look up our flight status and see that the gate has changed.
Cue the alarm bells!!!!
I jolt giving my nanny a jolt, both kids still sleeping luckily. I punt Jonah into her car seat and my Nanny tosses Tyler over her shoulder and we haul ass to the other side of the airport terminal. Only to get there by the skin of our teeth. The airport attendant adds insult to injury and makes a lame joke about how we must not have heard their pages over the intercom. Not right now wise guy. He must not have known I am a TSA pre check, pre-board, family board, A-List preferred, pre-EVERYTHING, mom on a mission type of traveler so this is not my finest hour.
But we made it. Still, a victory.
We board only to find that all that’s left are the dreaded middle seats.
Now if I was by myself, fine. I’m my mother’s daughter and I can make friends anywhere. But not with two little girls and a nanny who will get this plane turned around if they aren’t doing their job as efficiently as she is. We notify the agent and I put on my best “pity me I’m an exhausted mother of two, face” and they ask over the intercoms if someone is willing to give up their seats for us to all be together.
Then I throw in a round of drinks and give a death stare ,that only a mother could give, to the man and woman on my left who aren’t together. He volunteers first, then after a mini stare down between my Nanny and her, she gives in and relinquishes her throne in the 25th row. Sheesh!
FINALLY, we squeeze into our row, get ourselves situated, then take a quick moment to make fun of ourselves. For all the traveling accolades I think I deserve sometimes, this was a real BUST. But hey.... we made it. Another win.
So we’re ready, with snacks, and toys, and blankets, and diapers, and boobs which translate to endless amounts of milk, and changes of clothes we take off. Turbulence hits and we’re hunched over clenching the kids and praying to our Father for a graceful smooth flight. After we cut through the storm and get to smoother skies, I decide to take a few minutes and shut my eyes for a mom slumber.
9 minutes later.....
I realize my precocious and energetic two year old needs my undivided attention. Then my headache starts to kick in and fear a storm of our own brewing.
Just as I suspected, at the first chance she got my cute as a button baby girl Jonah starts wailing bloody murder.
I know that scream, that scream means she’s in pain. I also know the look on my two year old face. That look means “oh shit, I did it”. I ask Tyler what she did and she says she bit Jonah on the finger. Her excitement boiled over and she doesn’t just attempt to squeeze the life out of her like normal, she bites her on the finger.
My nanny whips into action to save Tyler from my wrath and puts her toys away so they can get up and walk the aisle. Then SLICE. She cuts her finger open on one of Tyler’s plastic toys. Nothing says chaos with children like a little blood.
These are the moments as a mother that I have to breathe deeply. I have two choices, join in the chaos and cry along with everyone else, or Keep Calm and Mom-on.
I choose to Mom-on.
We bandage up the Nanny and before she whisks Tyler away I have a “Come to Jesus” talk with her about how terrible it is to bite people. ESPECIALLY her baby sister. As I’m speaking, firmly, she realizes she’s in trouble and starts to pee, on my lap. My potty trained, independent two year old had a physical reaction to an emotional disappointment.
Keep calm, and Mom-on.
With help from our Nanny we get Tyler changed and we calm Jonah down as my heart breaks open into two parts. One part for Jonah who is genuinely hurt and the other part for Tyler who didn’t know how to react to the discipline she received.
All of this 30,000 feet in the air with a few bumps along the way just to remind us of how fragile life is.
It would’ve been really easy to be over taken by the calamity.
It would’ve been really easy to cry and feel embarrassed for the disruption we were causing to other travelers. It would’ve been really easy to be defeated.
But we weren’t. We kept calm. We Mom’d-On.
This entire situation was a healthy reminder that no matter how prepared, how many snacks you pack, how many bathroom breaks you take, how much time you have, SHIT still happens and you can’t control the why and the when but you CAN control the How.
You can control HOW you react to the situation.
I know my children watch me, and mimic me at times. I can only do my part and hope that when they get older and bare children of their own they’ll keep in mind that in moments of chaos and strife you can choose to KEEP CALM, and MOM-ON.
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