I was talking with a friend yesterday about traveling with kids. He happens to be headed on vacation this weekend since his boys are off next week from school. It got me to thinking about past vacations with the boys... Uy yuy yuy!
We were fortunate enough, when the kids were younger to go on a yearly vacation. Mike worked out of town all week and took two flights back and forth which meant he racked up the frequent flyer miles. Cha-ching! We typically had enough saved for a couple free tickets a year so the expense of the flights was not horrible. Four tickets anywhere, in any economy was really hard to digest - especially with the added expense of food and a hotel and car rental - and then how about the excursions or theme park entry fees???!!! UGH. There are so many other things to spend the money on! I remember we used to sit and debate if we should actually spend the money and go or not.... From where I sit now? I say GO! I also say, THANK GOD WE DID!
Yes, we did go somewhere every single year - up until the time when the kids schedules didn't jive anymore - once they got busy with sports obligations, jobs and college visits - we always took a "time out" for some rest and relaxation.
But was it really relaxing???? Nope. Not all the time. But it was memorable! My friend got me to thinking about one certain trip. I thought I'd share...
So, to set the stage visually here goes. Mike was working in Henderson, Nevada on a work related project. The nearest airport was Las Vegas. Sounded to me like a fabulous vacation, a nice break to go somewhere warm with the kids. It also gave Mike a break from flying all that way home for once. He was flying to and from NV weekly and for anyone who lives in the Capital Region, it's a known fact that there are very few places to fly to directly from Albany. It's necessary to take at least two flights unless the trip is to a major hub like Charlotte, Atlanta, Philly or Detroit (for the most part).
So, this one week we made these wonderful plans for me to fly to Las Vegas with Jeremy and Chris and Mike would meet us at the hotel where he was staying and it would be fabulous and relaxing and just oh so wonderful! Well, in actuality it really WAS a lot of fun once we got there but it was the in between stuff that was soooooo stressful! When I met Mike upon arrival I swear I threw Christopher at him and ran screaming for the bar.
The flight was the problem. Who knew Chris had issues with cabin pressure? I learned quickly. Not pretty... oh no, whoever happened to be in front and back of us was really unhappy. I was the dreaded passenger nobody wants around them. I was on the plane alone with the boys, I hadn't expected for there to be flight problems and I wasn't prepared.
I had taken the boys many places by myself while Mike was working. I had no problem with flying. If anything I could give them all the attention they needed because I wasn't driving and I was able to focus on their needs fully. Jeremy? No problem. He was reasonable and I could talk to him about keeping his feet down and not pushing on the seat in front of him or flipping the food tray up and down so it annoyed the passenger in front of us. He was older by almost three years of course so there was definitely a differnce in what was expected of the boys when out in public. Jeremy was no problem, a little gentleman and a conversationalist with most people around him. He was curious and observant plus he loved the flight TV so he was entertained.
Chris was younger, needed constant attention and absolutely did not want any part of being seatbelted for the duration of the flight. Chris wanted to roam the aisle, which was the only place there was other than the bathroom... I have never sweat so profusely in my life. The trip to Las Vegas was the longest one I have ever flown. I thought I would blow a gasket and cry my eyes out. My nerves were shot by the time we got to the hotel and I never thought I'd calm down.
I was a combination of frustrated, humiliated, embarrassed, exhausted, angry and who knows what else. I remember it after all these years! It was a real doozy of a trip.
Jeremy was probably six which means Chris was three. What was I thinking to take them across the country myself? I guess I hadn't expected a tough trip plus the dry desert heat sounded great and to give Mike a travel break was good too. It was memorable.
I know I don't remember all the details, and I'm sure after telling the story so many times over the years I have embellished a bit but the gist of it is right on the money...
The taxi picked the three of us up at home so we could literally be dropped off at the entry of the airport and check our luggage without hauling it in to the terminal. No problem, it all went fine. Jeremy rolled his little bag along and I had one for me and Chris. Perfect. The trouble was, I left their backpack in the taxi and didn't realize. Big trouble. That backpack had all of their in-flight toys and treats so I could keep them occupied. Oh dear God.
Have you even played with M&M's without eating them? My boys have! I swear I entertained them for the entire first flight by making them sort them by color, line them up in rows, make the shape of a house, create a rainbow, a smiley face, etc. We put the tray table down and played with those M&M's forever. They were sticky and getting their colors all over our fingertips but I was desperate to keep them occupied, especially Chris!
I wouldn't let them eat the treats... not until I had exhausted every possible thing that could be done with an M&M. You'll never look at them the same anymore probably! Ha hah. Well, it was quite an interesting trip.
I do recall the flight attendant was good to us. I don't know if it was out of pity for me or if it was passenger complaints. I don't think it mattered to tell you the truth. I was just glad she brought us those little wrapped cookies sometimes. I also remember some sales guy for Kubota Tractors who was seated across the aisle from Jeremy, he had a tiny tractor in his briefcase and he gave it to us. I don't think it was a toy necessarily; more like a keepsake to give to perspective customers after a sales pitch. Didn't matter to me though, I was thrilled for the kids to have something to argue over besides eating the M&M's or Jeremy telling Chris he didn't line them up right or that he guessed a color was wrong when I asked if I was holding a red one or a yellow one...
Oh my gosh, I'm getting a wave of body heat just sitting here thinking of that trip!
Did I mention that it really WAS a good time all in all? It didn't stop us from heading out year after year beyond that and Chris still loved vacationing regardless of his ear aches. The boys were a joy, even if they were a challenge. I adore my boys :-)
Thank you for reading.