We are going to Disneyland this week again, and Scout is finished college and meeting us there. Whenever I think…Scout…Airport…I have a mild post traumatic stress reaction. My palms get sweaty and shivers run down my spine. Scout was four when we experienced Airport Trauma, but this time she is twenty, and I bet she won’t give us any trouble at all.
Anyway. The latest post by Claire at Mumologic reminded me of one of motherhood’s worst.
It was a dark and stormy Scout event. We were on our way home from Disneyland. Scout was tired, I was tired. Polly and Alice and Sparky, yes, were tired. We rush to pack up our stuff. We rush to the airport. We rush through security. And then we sit. Scout is four years old; whiny and hungry. To plug the noisemaker, I decide to let her pick what she wants to eat.
She picks the nightmare food of ready made cereal in a flimsy plastic bowl. There is no table to sit at. She eats it on her lap. She spills it. SURPRISE. For a child like Scout, this would normally be a crisis of epic proportion. And its the first and last time EVER IN MY LIFE THAT I DON’T HAVE EXTRA CLOTHES. But this day, in this airport, under these circumstances, it is a near death experience.
For both of us.
Ten minutes pass.
The sirens start. Man that kid has good lungs. I whisk her away to the washroom to try to dry her clothes. Paper towel doesn’t work, the hand dryer doesn’t work. Ten more harrowing minutes pass. The stewardess calls for the priority loading passengers, those with physical challenges, and those with small children.
She mentions nothing about despair.
At any rate, I am not getting on this plane right now, with a child shrieking at the top of her lungs and no respite in sight. I wait for the next passenger call. I go out to the waiting area, to the horror of Sparky as he sees that she is still in a giant, full on tantrum.
We have to get on the plane!
You get on the plane, I’m not getting on the plane.
We have to get on the plane.
Take the other kids, get on the plane. They won’t leave without me. I’m pretty sure. Just give me a minute.
A line up of passengers are filing past us, some with looks of disgust, looks of pity, gifts for the small child. Money, candy. No Ativan, too bad. I’m crouched on the ground, whispering I love you, everything is going to be okay in her ear. The passengers are all on the plane. The stewardess glares at me. I mouth “one minute” at her. Scout breaks into the post tantrum sobs, huhuhuhuhuhuhuuuuuuuh; her body relaxes.
We’re almost there. Let’s get on the plane and go home and see Rainy. You can snuggle me on the plane. She falls sack of potatoes like onto my shoulder and I hoist her up. The glaring stewardess escorts us onto the plane. As I enter the front of the plane, every head pops up. The collective stare is horrified. They paid good money for this flight.
Sparky looks both relieved and grateful that he will not have to raise the children on his own.
I assess the emergency exit locations before easing into my seat. Scout sobs quietly into my shoulder for a few minutes, just after take off she falls into a deep sleep and sleeps nearly until the flight is over. I consider the oxygen mask. But I think we will be okay now.
The other passengers file out, mumbling remarks about wow, that went better than I thought, boy she sure was good. No, pal, I think. God is good. You should be thankful.
Just another experience that I will put forward for her cause for canonization. You heard it here first.