I lost myself somewhere along the way, these past 12 years. I know it sounds so cliché to say such a thing but it’s true. I mean, my kids are my everything and I am theirs. That’s how it should be though, right? Maternal instinct is a real thing, yo! I’ve been the stay-at-home-mom driving the minivan, covered in spit-up, poop, or breastmilk for so long that I’m having a hard time identifying what my role in this world is now. I don’t really know who I am anymore…
Okay, maybe I sound a little dramatic (cue sad music)..
My husband travels a lot. He’s gone for weeks or months at a time and I’ll admit I get a little woe is me over that. But, hello! He gets a first-class-traveling-break and I’m here wrangling kids by myself day after day.
So, recently while drinking margaritas with my family my brother exclaimed “Lisa! You need a break! You should go visit Aunt Kathy in Hawaii!” and I was like “Yeah! you’re right, I totally do and I totally should!” and we were all “yeah!” and that was the very well thought out way that this trip was planned.
Monte was totally supportive! He said that I deserved a trip away, and that he would have everything under control and before you knew it I was on my way to Hawaii. I have a cousin who is a flight attendant and she was nice enough to give me a Buddy Pass to fly (so I could scratch off the guilt over the cost of a plane ticket off my list) and I was staying with family on the island so that wasn’t going to be an issue either. Boom!
I just got back from my trip a few days ago. I had the best time in the world, but… um… I was totally missing my kids while I was there. I expected to miss them, of course, but… like… my heart was aching for those little rascals. I wanted them there with me and said as much to Monte via text, so then he would FaceTime me and I would see them and it was all “awwww I miss you so much!” and then they would start whining and fighting and then I was like “nah, I’m good.”
My aunt and uncle were the best hosts and made this trip the most perfect experience. They took me to beautiful dinners in Waikiki, my aunt took me around to explore the island, I hiked, shopped- it was glorious.
However, I had never flown standby before, so that was a whole new experience for me. Flying there was basically a tease because the plane was so empty that I had a whole aisle to myself. But getting back? Um… I was almost stuck in Hawaii. Which sounds awesome if you’re not at the airport, but, like… I could not get on a plane to LA. I got to the airport at 5am hoping to get on the 7am and I did not. I did not get on the 11:50am plane, the 2:52 pm plane nor did I get on the 8:45pm plane.
By noon I was ready to throw in the towel and head back to my aunt’s house, but I was informed by a flight attendant that a Seattle flight got delayed and a ton of seats opened up so I had a good chance of getting on it and then flying to LA from there! It was at 5pm, but I didn’t care. I would wait another 5 hours to get to the Mainland because I was terrified I would be stuck there for another week. It honestly would have been a very pleasant stay because, like I said, I have the most amazing auntie and uncle who had taken me in and they were willing to put up with me for however long it took to get me back to LA, but I didn’t want to over stay my welcome with them, and I really missed my babies. I suddenly felt like Kevin Mcallister’s mom in Home alone when she’s trying to get home from France and she can’t get a flight because it’s Christmas and all she wants to do is be with her son. Legit panic.
Somewhere between 5am and noon I threw out my neck, and then my slightly stuffy nose managed to turn into a raging head cold and lung infection. I was quite a sight to see with my crooked neck and red nose, I was hacking up pieces of lung and I’m sure nobody wanted to sit next to me for the 6 hour trek to Seattle, but twelve hours after arriving at the Honolulu airport, I was on an airplane to the mainland and nothing was going to stop me! So many seats had opened up on this delayed flight, that I didn’t have to subject anybody directly next to me to my coughing fits because the seat was empty, so that worked out nicely.
I can’t sleep on planes. I don’t understand how people can sleep on planes unless you are in first class and your seats lay way back. I cannot sleep sitting up. My husband can, and I’ll never understand it. Ever. I was really tired by the time I arrived in Seattle which was just before 2am. I even tried sleeping on the floor of the quiet airport terminal right outside my gate. Or what I hoped would be my gate, I wouldn’t know until 7am when the plane would already be loaded. Sleeping on the floor did not work out. I can’t sleep in weird places, I was worried about my computer which was in my carryon bag next to me, and honestly the floor of the airport should be reason enough! I had six hours to go, and Starbucks wouldn’t open for another two hours.
Long story long, I got on the flight by the hair of my chinny chin chin. It was a freaking miracle. I have never been so happy to see my husband and children. Overall, I grew a greater appreciation for what Monte goes through when he travels away from his family. I can’t imagine being away from the kids for months at a time when I could hardly handle a week.
Monte did a great job keeping the house together, I was pleasantly surprised at the laundry and dishes being done, homework was turned in, playdates had been coordinated, after school activities were not missed (grandma was a big help there), so it was a great success!
We as parents do need a recharge every now and then, I find that I have much more patience for the kids since I’ve been back. I look forward to quality time with them like never before, and they seem to have gained some healthy independence in my absence.
Now I can’t wait to plan the next trip with the kids! I’m thinking ROADTRIP!
Traveling with 4 kids is no easy feat. We checked in fine, and it was nice to unload the giant bags and only have our four rolling carry-on bags, backpacks, stroller, car seats, and children to deal with. My biggest fears for this trip were security, and boarding. The actual flight and getting everybody off the plane and into the car was a concern, but I feel like checking bags and clearing security is such a hurdle, but once that’s behind us I can breathe a bit.
Going through security, at one point Tiffany was showing her ID behind me and a TSA agent asked me with great concern if I was alone with the kids because that’s what it looked like at the moment. She was very relieved for me when I told her that I did indeed have help. The kids were not required to take off their shoes through security-SCORE! I was able to quickly collapse the stroller and place it on the belt, the girls were very good listeners and they put their own bags on the belt, then held the babies hands for us on the side while we finished loading the belt with bags, car seat, shoes, etc. Nobody wanted to line up behind us, of course, but I must say, we were very efficient! We got through as quickly as possible, with no hang ups, and the security personnel were extremely cheerful and helpful, and the other passengers were very kind and friendly. Once we were through, we even got a big round of applause! It was awesome.
Once we got settled at the gate, I took the girls and Atticus with me to get some Starbucks. The line was a good 20 minutes long, but we made it through with coffee for me, and some juice, yogurt, donuts, and muffins, as requested by the girls… so I thought. Apparently Aurora wanted a chocolate muffin, but i got her a banana nut muffin and I couldn’t hear her because it was so loud but she didn’t make it really known until we were done with our transaction and walking out of Starbucks. Aurora is our middle child, and while she is a bright, wonderful, sweet, loving, happy child most of the time, she has a dark side that reared its ugly head once the twins were born and she had to compete for the attention that she once had in abundance… for which i have a lot of guilt mixed with frustration. So, sometimes when she doesn’t get her way, she has a complete “possessed-by-Satan” meltdown that nothing can stop once it’s started. Nothing.
So there I was, halfway out of Starbucks, baby strapped to me, Ariel by my side, hands full of coffee and baked goods, and Aurora begins to scream “I HATE BANANA MUFFINS!!! I WANT A CHOCOLATE MUFFIN!!!!!” Shit. I was essentially trapped because my hands were full. Tiffany was at our seats in the terminal with Bea and couldn’t hear us, everybody’s staring at the lady with all the kids and Starbucks coffee and bags, Aurora is crying, and screaming “NO! I WANT A CHOCOLATE MUFFIN NOW!!” across the terminal. I asked Ariel to hold the bags of food while I tried grabbing Aurora’s arm and coaxing her out of Starbucks but she wasn’t having it. It looked really bad. I could feel everybody’s eyes burning into me. I finally had no choice but to leave Aurora, run over to our seats and toss all the crap down next to Tiffany, leave Ariel with her with no time to remove Atticus from the Ergo because Aurora was now alone, screaming her tushie off in front of Starbucks, and I’m sure people were concerned and security wasn’t far from intervening. All I could think about was the family who was kicked off of a Jet Blue flight just the week before because their 2 year old was having a tantrum. I had been mostly worried about the twins, but they were being perfect, even Atticus who was strapped to me as I raced across the terminal! He happily bounced along with me, a little confused, but just enjoying the ride. I finally got back to Aurora and picked her screaming little body up, and carried her into a bathroom stall. She was still screaming about the chocolate muffin, and at this point, I definitely couldn’t give in because I would be rewarding her naughty behavior. So… I lied and told her that She could no longer go to New York, and that I was calling grandma to come pick her up. I felt kind of bad about it even as I was saying it- even now I still do a little, but I was desperate… and at first it didn’t even work, and then I got worried because I really believe in following through with threats so they know I mean business, but then again, it never even really works with Aurora, no matter how good my track record is with following through. It took about 10 minutes of fake calls to grandma to get her to stop crying, and once she was calmed down, we entered the terminal, and joined the rest of our group.
Tomorrow we leave for New York to visit Monte while he works. He’s already been out there for a month, and we’re going to be visiting him for 2 months! We’re all really excited to see him, and to have a change of scenery for a while. I can’t wait to show the kids the museums, Central Park, the zoo, and the Statue Of Liberty. Although the older girls have been there before, they were so young at the time, I’m not sure they really remember any of it. It’s sure to be a grand adventure, but I’m pretty nervous about the airport and flight. Fortunately, I have the help of my friend and neighbor, Tiffany, she will be joining us for the whole trip to help with the kids.
Thankfully. Because I couldn’t do it without help. I’m mostly worried about getting through airport security with 4 kids. Getting everybody’s shoes off, the stroller collapsed and loaded onto the belt, the two giant car seats for the twins, the carry-on bags, and then of course, getting the actual twins through before they run off while we’re busy doing all of the above, and then chasing them through the airport… which is what Ariel did to me years ago as a toddler when I flew to Europe with her and nobody helped me, rather, they rolled their eyes! It was probably because they were thinking “Wow, that lady is a moron, she can’t even get ONE kid through security without holding up the line. what. an. asshole.”
I haven’t written anything in a long time, it’s been a busy few months, and in August, we took a much needed family trip to Yosemite- CAMPING!!! Yes, actual camping. In a tent. 6 months prior, when I booked this trip, I wasn’t really thinking logistics, I was just thinking about all the great potential memories we would make for our kids. Oh, how fun it will be to go camping IN A TENT in Yosemite, one of the most beautiful places in the world. When I was a kid, we went to Yosemite every summer in a MOTORHOME. It had a bathroom, and a kitchen, and several comfortable beds. So, as the months went by, and this trip got closer, I kind of realized that I have never actually camped in a tent. Ever. Ever? Ever. Apparently camping in an RV isn’t actually “camping”… of course not. So, as the months and weeks got closer to the date, I started to FREAK out. I was nervous about the drive, the bears, setting up camp, keeping the kids clean, the bears, what activities we were going to do- did I mention the bears?? So, I started to gear up, bought the huge tent that would be our home for 2-3 nights, planned on what to pack for clothes, should we bring the stroller? I made reservations 6 months prior, online. Getting reservations at a campground on the valley floor in Yosemite, in the summer, is pretty much like winning the lottery. I actually couldn’t get a spot for the early summer, so when the reservations opened up for mid-August on, we ended up getting a spot in late August, right before school was to start- close call! Not only did we get a campsite in one of the most sought after campgrounds, we got an AMAZING spot, right on the Merced river in Lower Pines. SCORE!! I reserved 2 nights, then quickly realized that it’s a lot of trouble to go through for only two nights, why not make it three? I was lucky to find a third night online, a few minutes later at a different campsite within the same campground, but across the way against the woods. Sweet. I actually figured that we would barely last the first 2nights and be dying to get back to civilization after night one, so it wasn’t a big deal, just a back-up plan.