Expect the Worst, Get the Best


On Saturday I woke at 4am and began to immediately dread the journey with my two girls to Mexico. For what it’s worth, I happen to think my children are fantastic travelers, but this was new territory. We were looking down the barrel of a 13 hour day, 7 hours flying time, 3 flights, 3 security checkpoints, 2 custom checks — all with one parent. Yikes! Never mind how would my kids cope, how on earth would I cope? I’ve traveled with them alone many times before, but never quite with travel this complex.

Within a half hour of my husband dropping us off, I was ready to call him and say “Come back”.

First, on two of our three flights, we were not sitting together. This immediately caused great anxiety in my oldest, who got weepy at the check in counter. I assured her, that nobody else was going to want to sit with a kid that was not their own and I would somehow get us seated together. While this stopped the tears, it didn’t stop the non-stop venting for the next twenty minutes about “like, the complete and total injustice of the whole thing”. (I’m paraphrasing slightly but you get the gist, right?)

Then came time to walk through security and I turned to my youngest and said “C’mon, go through the scanner, what are you waiting for?” That was when she turned to me with water welling in her eyes and shook her head no. Note to self: children are highly emotional when woken at 4am.

By the time we got through customs, I was thinking, maybe I should just turn around. Because, really, would me snapping at 30,000 feet do anybody any good?

We stopped for breakfast and things started to turn around. Not a single tear was shed.


Then on the first flight, the girls sat together, while I sat one row behind them. This is where I closed my eyes, for what I swore would only be two seconds, and woke up an hour later. It was not my children fighting that woke me up, or the loudness of their voices. Nope they were quietly playing a thumb war. I woke up because my neck apparently doesn’t like to be held at 90 degree angle while sleeping.

We landed in Washington without incident and I was no longer holding my breath. Kudos to the security people in Washington, by the way, who sent me though the scanner first before my kids. I totally get how these things can be intimidating to a kid. With me safely on the other side, it was much easier for my youngest to stroll through. Once I had secured the seat changes, we boarded our next flight bound for Houston and after take-off my youngest proceeded to whip out her homework.

What? Who are you kid and what did you do with my daughter?

Houston held more of the same great behaviour, which was rewarded with new books, chewing gum and fancy drinks at a restaurant. Seat changes were made again and we headed for Cancun. Just before we landed, I leaned over and kissed them both and told them how much I loved them.

“How did we do today mom?” my youngest turned and said to me.

“You two rocked my world. How did I do?”

She shrugged. “Meh, alright, I guess.”

PDF    Send article as PDF   


  1. says

    I’m giggling at her “meh” response (also, the homework!). I’m glad you didn’t turn around and that their first travel experience of this magnitude with you alone went well. But, you’re right; it is easier to expect all out hell because it can only be better.

Leave a Reply