Back in the summer of 2000, we took a trip to Montana. My in-laws bought the boys these adorable hats and I took this snapshot. When I sent the photo to my brother, he sent it back to me with several different backgrounds. I love this one with the roaming buffalo in the background.
I was thinking about this trip because it was, perhaps, one of the most challenging travel situations I have ever and will ever face. After Montana, the boys and I were planning to visit my friend in Omaha without Andrew. So he put the four of us on a plane in Bozeman. One double stroller, 2 car seats, 1 toddler, 2 preschoolers, 2 suitcases and 1 extremely unstable mom (that would be me). It started out fine. We settled in. Did I mention it was nighttime? We were supposed to land in Kansas City at 8:30 p.m. Being the account manager that I was, I had called ahead to be sure the there would be red-caps there to help at KCI at that time. There would be. They are there until 9:00 pm.
We got a late start, but I was not alarmed.
The boys all fell asleep on the flight. How peaceful! I drifted and relaxed. What a joy.
The plane landed. And the boys woke up.
Crying. Well, Max and Reed were crying. And it was after 9:00 pm. Oh no.
So imagine this. I put two crying kids in strollers, put 2 car seats in car seat bags and threw them over my shoulder, grabbed the carry on and Davis’ hand and started moving toward baggage claim.
It wasn’t pretty.
But it got
The bags came. I couldn’t get them off the carousel and take care of the boys at the same time. The crying was so…out of control.
Some very nice man took the bags off for me. And he got me a rolling cart and loaded them.
There were no redcaps left at the airport.
All I had to do was get the rental car and I was all set. So I went to the phones and called Avis. Where do I go to get the car?
“Get on the shuttle bus and you can get the car.”
Sobbing now, I told the young guy on the other end of the phone that it wasn’t possible. I could not get my double stroller, 2 car seats, 2 crying and 1 bleary kids, 2 suitcases and me onto a shuttle. I could not, I wailed.
“We’ll come get you,” the young man said, “how will we find you?”
“I’m the one with short brown hair and a red shirt, standing hysterical by the curb at door 35 with 3 small kids. You can’t miss me.”
When the guy got there, he kindly installed the car seats, put the luggage in the trunk and drove me to the Avis location. Quickly, I was able to leave. Perhaps not with my dignity, but I did get to leave.
All is well. Right?
It’s almost a 3-hour drive from Kansas City to Omaha. I love to drive. It’s an easy ride. No worries.
Except the boys fell right asleep with the vibrations and the sound of the road. And after about 1/2 hour, I had to go to the bathroom very badly. Very badly.
Stop at a rest stop and run in, leaving the kids in the car? I don’t think so! What to do?
Drive through a fast food joint, get a large coke and dump it for the cup. Am I proud? No. But sometimes, the options aren’t so great.
I went from laughing to crying on Route 29. I talked to my friend almost the whole way, which helped a lot.
It’s funny. The boys are getting so big and so independent. I should be relieved. Surely looking back at how hard it was at times when they were little, you’d think I’d be thrilled to be past it.
But look at those little guys?
Who wouldn’t miss that?