I know I’m not the only one who feels anxious during the holiday season. There is so much to do: meals to plan, presents to buy, cards to address, etc… And if your family lives long distance, you add traveling to the mix.
I love to travel. I’ve been flying since I was a baby, probably averaging two flights a year. Since I grew up in Georgia, always flying out of the busiest airport in the world, I feel confident navigating airports. The only one that ever threw me for a loop was Paris when we were sprinting to catch our connecting flight, saying, “What is L squared?!”
That’s why I was surprised to find myself getting anxious on the drive to Cincinnati. Anxiety often hits when you least expect it.
Thomas was bouncing his knee against the car keys, Lyla chatted nonstop, and all of a sudden I found it hard to breathe! So I popped on our noise canceling headphones, closed my eyes, and went to my safe place on San Juan Island. I brought to mind all of the lovely details and tried to feel that moment again. It helped me to slow my breathing.
Traveling cross country with kids is daunting. And while I felt confident they would do well on this trip, the expectation of a long day of travel started to get to me. Not to mention I’ve had some rough plane trips with them in the past year.
For a quick recap of our toughest kid flights, in case you’re wondering:
Memphis to Seattle w/ Layover in Dallas
Passengers: Me, 3 month old, 2 year old
– Flight delayed overnight, but car seats were already checked
– Rescued from Memphis airport by friends with car seats
– Given shelter, food, and clothes from friends
– Back to airport in morning
– Covered in spit up during flight
– Stroller was crushed flat and unopenable upon Dallas arrival
– Ran across the airport dragging kids on top of squashed stroller
– Finger lost circulation for two weeks
– Missed connecting flight
– Baby had a blowout so I threw his clothes in the trash
– USO gave us a private room for nursing and resting. They saved the day!
– Caught another flight three hours later
– Arrived safely in Seattle
– Slept a lot for several days!
That was a tough one. Lesson learned:
ALWAYS GET DIRECT FLIGHTS WITH CHILDREN. Two days worth of clothes in my backpack did not hold out on that trip.
In February our whole family flew home to GA for my friend’s wedding, direct flight that time. No trouble with flight delays, but Luke screamed and flailed the whole way, smashing his head on the window and seats. He was right under a year and not at an age where he would sit and be occupied. I arrived exhausted and sweaty from wrestling with him the whole way.
Whew! No wonder I was getting anxious for this Thanksgiving flight!
I am happy to report that it was a smashing success! With no head smashing! We made it to GA and back as smoothly as traveling with kids can possibly be. The kids loved flying. Luke, especially, was thrilled to be on an airplane. He laughed the whole way down the passenger boarding bridge and patted the side of the airplane as he walked on. Adorable!
The only irritation was that I kept losing hair all over the plane. Why am I shedding SO MUCH?! I literally left a solid DNA trail all the way from Ohio to Georgia. What gives?? My scalp, apparently! It is the season of giving, I suppose. I can only hope that the airport sparrows weave my hair into their nests for a little extra shine and warmth this winter. Haha!
I wish we had gotten a group picture of my whole family on Thanksgiving, but I did catch this cute moment between Luke and his great grandfather, Papaw. Luke looks very much like my grandfather and my dad.
We even got to see Thomas’ brother Michael in the airport because he was only a few gates down from us. He was on the way back from his second mission trip to the Ivory Coast. You can read about his last mission trip on his blog washedbythewater. He gave us a brief overview of the trip, the troubles they overcame, and the people he helped at the medical clinic. He was literally glowing as he told us about leading a man to Christ. We are so proud of him, especially his kind heart!
I am very thankful we had a safe trip with cooperative kids and little stress. My anxiety settled down after that first leg of the trip and didn’t come back. That was a success for me!
I hope that you also had a blessed Thanksgiving filled with quality time with loved ones. Did you eat too much food? I know I did. Happy belated Thanksgiving to all of my readers!
In case you’d like to read some calming posts of memories that help me through anxiety: