If we were playing Jeopardy the question would be, "What are two things that stink by themselves and would really blow together?" I came to this conclusion my last trip back and forth.
So on our most recent trip to the US, I realized that the long process of flying international with children (for me alone usually) was closely related to labor. I know what you are thinking. You wonder how two things that are totally different can be related in my head. Well it's your lucky day because I'm going to tell you :)
When I was in labor with Genevieve it was long (16 hours), hard, hurt, etc. Any woman who's been in labor knows what I'm talking about. It takes everything you have to get through it. It is so uncomfortable. I was in so much pain with Genevieve, I couldn't really sleep. My epidural wore off in the middle of labor, and I was dealing with the monster contractions I was having. However, when all was said and done, I had a beautiful baby girl in my arms and couldn't be happier.
When I had Samuel things seemed much easier. I wonder if it was due to knowing what was coming. I was only in labor about 8 hours, and a couple of those were spent just waiting for the doctor to get done with surgery so she could be there. They knew from the time before that once I started to push, it really didn't take long. So she wanted to be ready to go before I started to push. After my water broke, I had horrible back labor. It was one of the worst pains I have felt. However, once the epidural was in, I was fine. I got a few hours of sleep even. Like the first time, by the time it was over, I had a wonderful baby boy in my arms, and it was all worth it.
So how does this relate to my international flights? Well just like this. I realized this trip home that the trips home (on the planes) is like labor. It is hard, no sleep, it down right hurts at times. The trip is long. The trip is hard. The kids don't always sit well for that long, and who would. However at the end of the long day in airplanes, it is worth it. We are either to the US and can't wait to see family and friends, or we are home and ready to get back to our lives.
I'm hoping that as the kids get older the trips don't remind me of labor so much. I am guessing that will be the case. As I tell everyone, my saving grace is that Genevieve loves to fly, listens well, and really doesn't need a lot of one on one time on the plane. The fact that she gets her own TV, cool food that they bring her, and a seat to herself keeps her pretty much happy. For that I am very thankful.
We did make it home from our trip back. It was a long day, and I'm pretty much set on being in Germany for a few more months. I am NOT ready to get back on a plane anytime soon. :) We had a great visit with family and friends. It was nice to see old friends while I was home. I never really realized how much it stinks when you only get to see them once a year and sometimes less than that. All I have to say is thank goodness for the internet :)
For those that sent prayers and thoughts and vibes my way while I was traveling, THANK YOU. I could feel them on my trip. For the most part Samuel did as well as any 2 year old really could. He had his moments, but nothing like it could have been. I keep hoping that things will continue to get better with him and soon it won't be something I dread so much. Maybe it saves money this way because I'm never in a hurry to make that trip :)
I really wonder if I'm the only parent that feels this way? I don't know a lot of people who travel internationally. Some that I do know have given me great advice. However, I wonder if everyone else dreads flights as much as I do. I wonder sometimes if I am being a baby about it. People ask me all the time how and why I do it. It really is simple. I refuse to be held back. I want my kids to feel comfortable, and I want to be able to travel with the kids. I want to be able to do this no matter where I am. I don't ever want to feel like I'm stuck some place. It really is just that simple.
I also need to take a moment (even though I have no clue who he is, and I know he will never read this) to thank a nice man who helped me more than he knows. When we got to Germany, a couple of people helped me off the plane with my kids and stuff. When I got to baggage claim the man saw me again, and came over to load my bags on the cart for me. Realizing (and relieved I think) that I wasn't taking a train or anything, he offered to push the bags to the van for me. He helped me all the way out to our van. I really am thankful for people like this. I could have made it, but it would have been hard. He really made my morning, and I'm thankful for him.
Overall, it was an amazing trip home. We all had a great time, and we got to see and do a lot. All that said, I'm so glad to be home. I missed this place, my home, my friends, my HUSBAND, etc. I am resting up and trying to forget the long process so I will be okay buying my tickets and heading home in June. We aren't headed all the way back to family, but we are going to Nashville to be with my sister while she has her own baby. The kids are ready for a cousin (Genevieve wants to name the baby Peanut Banana Pants), and I'm ready to see and spend time with Sarah again.