Just when I think RFM issue number sixty-five (Wow, has it really been that many?!) will finally be the one that goes to press with a blank page where my note belongs (the post-Christmas weeks can be pretty dull, after all), the universe lobs me yet another reason to shout parenting joy from my page eight rooftop. Today, I pen this column from 30,000 feet above Arkansas (well, maybe Oklahoma now, it’s so hard to tell from up here), as the family embarks upon a quick trip to California to visit my D.O.D. (that’s Dear Old Dad). I had thought about going solo – it seemed so much easier – and cheaper. But as much as Dad would love to see his Baby Driver (that’s me), he really wants to give his grandboys a big “crushing” (envision a giant hug, with sound effects to imitate a slow smashing of your rib cage. It’s the type of hug that almost – but not quite – cuts off the flow of air to your entire body).
So after an exhaustive search to figure out the most cost-effective way to use as many credit card miles as possible to book flights (thank you, Capital One), the day has arrived to begin our journey. At ages six and eight, the boys are easy to travel with now, and dare I say, are even starting to be helpful, carrying their own backpacks (so far, it’s early in the trip) and reminding us of the important things, like where to locate the barf bag (here’s hoping we don’t need it). Business travelers and empty nesters chuckle at their commentary, no longer giving us the sympathy glance as they did when the kids were toddlers (coupled with the sheer terror we saw in their eyes when they feared we’d be on their flight).
As I envision how this trip would have looked if I were alone, or even what it looked like when my hubby and I did it pre-kids, I’m so thankful to have them along for the ride. Who else but kids would find such utter joy in getting on the parking lot shuttle bus? “I just LOVE these buses!” they squealed. As we entered our city’s quaint, redesigned airport, they exclaimed, “I remember this place! I love this airport!” Wide-eyed wonder abounds on this day, spotting airplanes that match the hand-me-down models back home in their rooms, settling into their window seats right above the wing, and holding their stuffed animals up to their windows to watch the city shrink below them. “Look at that water tower! Wow, I never realized how close houses are to each other! Look, it’s the James River!”
Yes, the world looks very different through the eyes of a child. Even the mundane things – shuttle buses, airport trams, and luggage carousels – are exciting wonders to behold. Thank goodness I am not alone on this journey – heaven forbid I should just ignore the marvel that is the Atlanta airport escalator: “The hugest one we’ve ever seen!”
Whether you’re heading off for a winter excursion, or snuggling at home with your big and/or little Valentines, make this a February to remember. And thanks for taking RFM along for the ride.