One thing you can count on about being part of a military family is that at some point you’re going to be told to pack your crap and move if you want to keep your family together.
So you do that.
If you own your home, you sell it or rent it. If you’re renting, you break your lease. If you’re working, you put in your notice. You pull your kids from school or daycare. You start saying goodbye to friends and co-workers.
Maybe they’ll throw you a goodbye party.
If you’re moving somewhere kind of close, maybe you can get away with throwing everyone in the car and going on a road trip to your latest “Home is where you hang your hat”-style temporary abode.
But if it’s far, then chances are you’re hopping onto a plane.
Such was my luck during our last move when we were moving from Hawaii to Maryland.
And, to be honest, it ended up being a much bigger adventure than I ever could have prepared for.
Kids. Ages 2 and 4.
I had traveled with H, my eldest, before, but never with both. I thought I could handle heading back to the mainland alone to find us a house while my husband finished up his classes.
And obviously I could. I did. But boy, was it a headache.
Part of it is the build up in your head. If you’re a parent, chances are you follow parent-oriented websites and blogs and Facebook pages. Guess what you inevitably end up seeing there? Article after article about kids on planes.
Everything is so negative. It’s either a rant about how awful kids are, or some defiant response about how some parent doesn’t care about what you think, other passenger, her kids will do what they want! So there!
It’s a panic attack waiting to happen.
And there’s a chance it might be easy and everything goes right, or some of the tips you looked up will actually be useful.
Or you could end up like me, and it could just be hell.
I’m not going to go into the gory details. Let’s just say it involves no one sleeping on a red eye and one of my kids throwing up on me.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom, though. A remarkable number of people offered help or were just plain kind to me – a woman traveling alone with her kids. And I’m grateful for that..
So to those other people traveling: thank you to those who offered me help. Thank you to those who said sweet things to my kids to cheer them up. Thank you to those who didn’t make me feel like the worst mom in the world for being overwhelmed and tired. I’m sure there were people annoyed by me or my kids, but no one bothered us, and in the end we survived.