I love to travel, and jump at every chance we get. Even turning some of Josh’s work trips into family vacations. This week Josh had to go to the OC for work. After a few hard days at work, we met him there to turn it up a bit and play. So, I had to fly alone with Atlas, and I was a bit nervous. You can read more about flying alone with children here.
One of my biggest challenges, was simply getting all the things we needed from point A to point B.
- The stroller
- Atty’s giant space-shuttle car seat
- Our shared carry-on bag
- A small backpack with snacks and activities
It doesn’t sound like too much, but all these items are big and bulky. Add a squirmy one and a half-year old into that mix and I was way out numbered. I avoid checking my bag at all costs – which did make it a lot harder than it had to be.
Okay, so with all that stuff I knew I was in for a challenge. But people are just so darn kind, it blows my mind.
My dad dropped us off at the airport and asked if we needed a luggage cart. I said no because you can’t take them through security and that’s right where I was headed. Checked in on my phone, y’all.
So, I pulled my luggage, the car seat in this awesome car seat cover and our small travel stroller behind me, all while wearing Atlas in our baby carrier. Man, he has gotten a lot heavier since the last time I wore him.
It was A LOT. It was heavy and bulky and didn’t roll the best.
As we walked to security, the lady behind me saw my burden. She had no luggage with her at all. Remember those days? She kindly offered to wheel my luggage and stroller to lighten my load. At first, I didn’t want to burden her, but after she assured me it was no trouble at all, I let her. And seriously, it was so nice. I had less to zig-zag with through the lines and we struck up a nice conversation about her granddaughter who was dancing in a competition in Florida that weekend. Go Bulldogs! We parted way as we got to security.
You know how you have to take every little thing out when you go through security? Boy, that was possibly the hardest part of our travels. One of the TSA agents saw all I had to do (take out toiletries, computer, laptop, removes shoes, get the car seat out of its bag, … etc.) and offered to help. In the past, they have had a family line open – for those with more stuff and those who need a little more time. But we weren’t that lucky today. I felt bad holding up the line, but with her help we got through so much faster.
I worked up quite the sweat getting all of that stuff from security to our gate. Thankfully, it wasn’t too long of a haul. A few people offered to help along the way, but I declined. Looking back, I have no idea why. I was so grateful for all the help I got previously, I think I felt like I needed to prove I could handle it all myself. I could, but I’d rather not. I looked as if I had run a marathon; you could see the sweat beading on my forehead.
Finally, we got to the gate and a pilot happened to sit down right next to us. I explained to Atlas how he was the one who flew the airplane and that’s why he got to wear such a cool hat. Atlas kept pointing and saying ‘hat’. The pilot, having a few grandkids of his own, played right along and had a full on conversation with himself about flying planes on Atty’s behalf. You know when you ask questions, and answer them yourself because they can’t. So pretty much, you are just talking to yourself in a high-pitched voice.
Atlas noticed his coffee, and I mentioned not getting to have any coffee yet. With all the things I had to carry, I couldn’t manage a coffee cup as well. He very generously offered to watch our luggage while I grabbed coffee. I know it’s technically against the rules. But, he was the pilot, and the coffee place was in eyesight of where our stuff was sitting. I mean, the man offered me coffee! How could I say no? When we got back, he gave Atlas wings and the coolest holographic card before boarding the plane. These items kept him occupied until we boarded ourselves.
The struggle was real getting everything sorted out once we were on the plane, even with the extra time and practically having the airplane to ourselves. A tall gentlemen came to my rescue and lifted my luggage into the overhead bin. During the flight, Atlas did amazing. He slept for the majority of the flight, with his feet resting on the lady’s lap next to us. Being a mother herself, she didn’t even flinch when he rested his feet there. I moved them, and he moved them back. At which point, she told me not to worry about it. Said it reminded her of her baby at home.
When we landed, multiple person told me what a wonderful job he did on the flight. One man said he didn’t even realize he was on the flight, until we landed and Atlas started clapping. That’s music to any parent’s ears.
A very helpful airline attendant helped gather our gate-checked items on the jetway. And another threw them on a cart and brought them to the car rental booth. I cannot even describe how amazing this way. I was finally starting to feel worn at this point from the late night packing, and the early morning flight. So, lugging everything across the airport was the last thing I wanted to do.
Getting the rental car was possibly the easiest thing I’ve ever done, ever. With only my booking credit card and license, the attendant was able to pull my reservation and get everything ready to go. In less than five minutes, he had my car pulled up to the curb. VIP service. He even brought all the cargo over for me. The man who drove my car up, packed the car and helped me put the car seat in. I mean, seriously, way to make a girl almost cry from their kindness.
When all was said and done, I couldn’t help but feel overcome with gratitude. Traveling alone with a kid is quite a task. Kids come with a lot of baggage, literally, and it can be overwhelming. I didn’t feel that overwhelm, thanks to the kindness and generosity of these people.
I want to send a big THANK YOU out to all the people who helped me along the way. And to all the others kind hearts who offered a hand, even those I didn’t accept.
Kindness really is the new cool.