The Flight of Four Children

You know those days where you just feel like…….BLEH. I’m good. I’m even really excited about moving into my new house on Friday, BUT…….bleh. Today I am reminded of the fragility of life, the reality of the military life, and well, my eye itches really badly. I’m allergic to weeds. The West coast grows a lot of weeds.

Here’s the super condensed version of what happened on the journey out here.

1. If you have two children under four, you do not need to travel with a stroller. You need to travel with a DOUBLE stroller. I don’t care if your husband tells you that it won’t fit in the van. It will fit. You will make it fit. He will make it fit. This will never happen again.

Meanwhile, Daniel was super cute walking at the pace of a 100 year old turtle, looking at every single thing in the airport, while simultaneously picking his nose and saving the boogers as souvenirs.

2. Moving cross-country: just don’t do it. Too much work.

3. My mom traveling with me was truly a life-saver. I am high strung, and she was more calm. I needed that. Her calmness was essential. Thank you, Mom.

4. The actual flying part was easy. On the 5 hour flight from Atlanta to LA, we sat behind a family of four little girls. All eight kiddos were model travelers. I only had one minor heart attack, when the mom in front of us turned and asked me if she could give all of my boys Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. Phew! At least she asked, and none of her little girls touched Joshua or John David, so we were able to finish out the day without a trip to the Emergency Room.

I had to laugh at myself, going to great lengths to make sure no peanut products were served by the airline, while the lady in front of me was handing out Reese’s. You know, you just can’t control the world. There had been a previous flight, a few years ago, where Joshua had broken into hives from the presence of peanut on the plane, but this time we were free of incident!

5. Poor Caleb. Upon arriving, Alan asked Caleb, “How was the flight?” Caleb answered, “Good. I mean, not really. There was this kid that sat behind me that kept kicking my seat for the whole flight.” Then Caleb sighed and mumbled, “But there was just nothing I could do. She was just like a 5-year-old little kid that didn’t know any better,” and he shook his head.

I had no idea any of that was going on, and Caleb was sitting right beside me.

6. The military reimbursed us for these tickets, as this was a military move, not a vacation. Therefore, I went ahead and purchased JD his own seat and brought along his car seat. Traveling with your baby’s car seat is WONDERFUL. It wasn’t for safety reasons. I wasn’t all that worried about his safety. The great thing about the car seat was that it provided him a place to sleep!!! I was able to sit and read. Who would have ever thought?

7. The hard part was not the flying. The hard part was navigating through the airport, check-in, baggage claim, and to the rental car area with 7 suitcases, 4 children, a stroller, and a car seat. THAT was almost impossible. Going through security was rough too. I kept my cool all day long…….until baggage claim. When Caleb threw his little body on the moving suitcase belt, that was when I suddenly became completely unglued. I snatched Caleb off of that luggage belt and became April-in-panic for the rest of the day.

Mom told me that a lady came up to her, after I pulled Caleb off the belt, and said, “I want you to know, he just lived out one of my life-long dreams!!”

My state of panic became even worse when we were crossing the street to get to the rental car place, and all of the suitcases on my suitcase cart fell off into the road. It sounds like a little thing, but by this point I had been up since 5 am, flying with four little boys, and ALL little things were great big things.

8. I waited in the Avis line for what felt like an hour. Meanwhile, I could hear Daniel having a melt down over by the snack machines. My mom was trying to get them all a reward for being such great flyers, but of course Caleb and Dan both wanted the last bag of fruit snacks in the machine.

I finally got my turn at the counter, and the Avis lady said, “I see no reservation in here for you.”

No, I didn’t freak out. I was already in a freaked out state anyway. I very quickly said, “Okay. So do you have a minivan available for renting?”

“No, but we have seven passenger SUVs.”

“Available right now?”


“I’ll take it. Here’s my credit card.”

After 20 more minutes of snack machine problems, we finally went upstairs and got our SUV. Only I forgot that I had also reserved a car seat for Dan. That’s when I became almost hysterical. Daniel is tiny!! He HAS to have a car seat!! I turned to my mom and asked her to go see if she could be super assertive (not really her thing) and get one for us from Avis, without waiting in that killer-slow line.

Mom did us proud. She did not wait in line. She went up to the counter and said, “We HAVE to have a car seat.”

“What agent helped you?”

“I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. We just need a car seat.”
“Is it in your rental agreement?”

“No, but we need one. My daughter is out there, and she doesn’t have a car seat, and she’s freaking out. You gotta give me a car seat.”

Mom was back in 5 minutes with a car seat. I was so happy to see her and that seat that I started to cry.

9. Well, of course we got lost. We made the 1 hour 20 minute trip from airport to hotel in a little less than 2 hours…I wanted to melt into a puddle in the floor. Instead, I climbed into bed, and we let Alan take the boys for a while.

The boys are so excited to be here–so excited. I’d like to say thank you again to my mom. I certainly could not have done this alone!!


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