Purple, red, two black, one oversized


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
5 by foot, 3 by stroller
Purple, red, two black, one oversized.

I keep repeating my little chant over and over as we unload the van and get ready to enter the airport.

It was the moment my kids were counting down for – starting from the day we returned from New York a year earlier.

The once a year trip to see all the cousins and family on the east coast.

Packing was done. But the trip was still ahead- and the need to make sure that all 6 carry-ons, 2 checked suitcases, 2 carriages and 3 car seats make it to our final destination.

Feeling like a walking Dr Suess book, I repeat my chant again

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
5 by foot, 3 by stroller
Purple, red, two black, one oversized.

And we continue our trek to security, my least favorite place in the world.
And I can’t find my diaper bag.
I frantically check everywhere; under both strollers, under bags and carry-ons – until I notice it on my shoulder. Right, of course. I’ve got this.

And we start unloading.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
5 by foot, 3 by stroller
Purple, red, two black, one oversized.

Shoes and sweaters and laptops and iPads and iPhones … and bags and more bags.

Eventually we get through security and get it all back together again, with one less item- namely, my daughter’s detangler spray that she packed in her backpack.

Well, if dumping her $2 berry flavored detangler is going to make America safe, then who am I to argue.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
5 by foot, 3 by stroller
Purple, red, two black, one oversized.

Don’t run! Don’t forget which carry-on your taking! No, you can’t go on the escalator and wheel your carry on at the same time! That’s dangerous!

I’m feeling like a broken record and we haven’t even boarded the plane yet.

One thing that’s great about traveling with the whole family is that we never have waiting time; no matter how early we leave, it’s inevitable that we will get to the gate during boarding. This time is no exception.

We start the trip down the runway- at least that’s what the aisle in the plane feels like, with all eyes on us. And I know they’re counting. And I’d rather not know what they’re thinking.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
5 by foot, 3 by stroller
Purple, red, two black, one oversized.

Without too much refereeing – everyone gets a seat. And they’re hungry.

Of course they’re hungry.

It’s almost midnight and they’re usually sleeping at this hour- so why are they hungry?!

I decide it’s not a good time for such a rational conversation and just hand out the snacks that I had packed.

And for a moment I take note that my kids are growing up – not everyone needs help with their seatbelt. Some are even helping each other! I indulge in the moment and then get back to reality that we are in a plane, about to take off, surrounded by strangers and nowhere to put my feet.

The upside of taking a red eye is there’s a big chance that everyone will sleep because they typically sleep at those hours.

The downside of taking a red-eye is that there’s a small chance that they might not sleep:

And the baby, my 15 month old who refuses to walk, chose to take that small chance and did not sleep.

And I tried to push out all negative thoughts of – why in the world are we on this plane when we have cozy beds waiting for us in our house?? Why are we squished on a plane with a baby who won’t sleep?

My husband does the bulk of the pacing and rocking and I grab a few minutes of unpleasant sleep.

The rest of the kids sleep a solid 4 hours and wake up just as we are getting ready to land, as energetic as if they just had a full night’s sleep.

I’m groggy and sluggish and cranky and hungry and want my bed.

But I’m the mother so I pretend to be grown up and share their enthusiasm that we are landing.

And then the fun of tracking down all our belongings begins-

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
5 by foot, 3 by stroller
Purple, red, two black, one oversized.

And some carriages and car seats.

We head to baggage claim to get the rest of our goods; the kids jumping and dancing, me half asleep.

All I can think of is my bed I left at home.

We get the rest of our stuff and add it to our motorcade of belongings and head outside.

Our rides pull up (2 vehicles to accommodate our towering luggage) and the kids are overjoyed, running to greet their grandfather who they haven’t seen in 8 months. They’re so joyous they can hardly buckle their seatbelts and sit straight.

I’m still tired.

And I have a feeling my husband is too.

But seeing the looks on their faces, I know the sleep deprivation is worth it. And that’s enough of a reason to do these crazy trips.





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