Jon loves being a dad. I get told all the time by spouses of pilots he's deployed with that he pretty much goes around proselytizing for parenthood. Which is really sweet. It warms my heart to see and hear how much he loves his family.
This is what Jon missed yesterday on our trip to Salt Lake City. This is the sort of thing that dampens spirits and makes people want to have their tubes tied. This is why I don't push my friends to have kids.
Traveling alone with a toddler is a very brave thing to do and I, therefore, am a brave woman. I packed very light, I had my brother purchase a car seat on his end, so I wouldn't have to check one and I bought a small umbrella stroller that I could check at the gate. I am brave and I am a savvy traveler. I am not, however, smart, because I did, after all, travel with a toddler by myself.
The first flight was fine. No real problems or anything. It was pretty much the same level of stress as taking a toddler to Costco and purchasing large items. Not fun, but not bad enough to make me avoid it. We landed, unruffled, in Phoenix, where we ate and I chased Nate all over the airport, hoping it would wear him out.
He was, indeed worn out and for the first forty minutes of the flight, he slept like a sweet little blonde angel with rosy cheeks and striped socks. If I could stop the movie there, you all would run to your spouses and beg for babies.
But, then, he woke up.
"But, then" is like the fine print on an "As Seen on TV" special.
He woke up a little off and started to cry, which soon turned to a scream. Screaming isn't fun, but it's totally doable. THEN he started to thrash. And kick and WAIL and SCREAM ('scream' and "SCREAM" do not mean the same thing). I am not kidding when I say I have never seen a child act the way Nathan proceeded to act for the remainder of the flight. It was like trying to hold an angry, rabid wolverine. On steroids. With a thorn in it's eye.
My child thrashed and arched his back and screamed and SCREAMED and turned in thrashing circles in my lap, trying to escape something like it was burning him. I had no idea a human being could act like that. The whole plane was either concerned or penciling, "Get Sterilized" into their day planners. I had the guy next to me offering to help, people in front of and behind me offering help, THREE stewardesses at ONCE standing at our row, asking questions, offering wet paper towels, food from first class and asking on on earth they could do to help.
It really was horrible. Purgatory is here on earth. It's called parenthood and I just made up for 26 years worth of sin.
I may not be smart, but I still think I'm brave and travel savvy. And I'm awfully good at pretending to be cool and collected. I stayed calm the entire 40 minutes he had his fit and I calmly walked off the plane (he had stopped crying from pure exhaustion by then) and collected our things and picked up our luggage at baggage claim and layered my wolverine for the cold weather and waited outside for my brother and only let out a few choice words when it took me 20 minutes to install the carseat and made it back to eat dinner and go to bed by 9:30, San Diego time. But when I wrote my "this is how things went" email to Jon, I cried. Because I only pretend to be calm.
Which is all to say, whatever you may hear from my husband, do not have children. A purgatory sentence is best served off a commercial airplane.