Where the buffalo roam.

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.

And then.

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

much

worse.

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?

Well? No.

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?

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7 thoughts on “Where the buffalo roam.

  1. i used to travel with kate when she was little; one kid on an hour long flight to ohio? piece of cake.

    i took one trip with the two kids; jack was about 6 months old and kate was two and half. i’ll never do it again. thank goodness for the kindness of strange men in airports (they’re always the first ones to help when they see a mom struggling with young kids).

    (but i NEVER peed in a cup in the car. lol)

  2. Oh my god i just laughed myself off my chair. I have so done that – 3 kids and an 8 hour trip to NYC, all sound asleep and my only option a 7-11 drive thru 😉 I am glad I am not alone! They are just gorgeous, btw.

  3. who can’t relate? i almost cried when i read your blog. but such a lovely ending. having to pee really bad is a horror. i once was in so much pain (we were stuck on the george washington bridge) and when we got to the other side, i jumped out of the car and peed in some bushes in the middle of queens, ny. my kids were appalled, and still laugh about it today.
    when we lived in germany, i decided to take the bus into town with a 6,3, and 1 year old. it was so scary, but to this day i’m proud that i did it. i couldn’t speak the language well (hardly at all actually) and since i have a very bad memory i tried to memorize the bus stop. so we are all sitting waiting for the bus, when i see another bus one or two stops away (it was a huge bus depot) and the same bus driver who drove us into town, signaled to me that i was at the wrong bus stop. he smiled, and waved to me. i got on the bus, and to this day whenever i think of his kindness, i smile. the memories are the thing.

  4. I love this post! I think that those of us with 3+ kids and brave travel are a special breed. My worst was a 2 yr old throwing up in her carseat at 11 p.m. 60 miles from no where in western Kansas. Her 4 year old brother gagged for the whole hour and the baby cried the rest of the way! What a way to greet the grandparents for labor day weekend at midnight!

  5. I could barely survive the trip to Canada with the Branch and Blossom last summer, and that was with the Citizen along. I can barely take the Branch and Blossom to the pediatrician by myself.

  6. I always marvel at young mothers with 3 or more in tow, at the grocery store or post office, doin’ what they gotta do. I had it easy, baby.

    Still…a great story. Now.

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