Tactical Errors and Angels Unaware

Yes, it’s true.  Travelling by yourself with two children under the age of 3 is….  challenging.  During the travel days, I kept repeating the phrase, “I think I have made a tactical error” when things would get hairy.

Tactical Errors:

  • I learned that it’s best to make sure that the shuttle that you counted upon to take you home actually runs at that hour, when you fly in on a late flight. 
  • I learned that one should always, always, always check the length of one’s layover when one is travelling with a toddler and an infant.  I actually survived six hours at the Minneapolis airport.  Suprisingly, so did the infant and toddler.
  • It was certainly a tactical error to bring ANY luggage.  The diaper bag, carseat, stroller, and two bundles of child were plenty to schlep.  Next time perhaps I will buy new clothes for the week and donate them to Goodwill at the end of the visit.
  • I totally missed the tucked away corner of the check-in desk at SEATAC that apparently allowed me to check my baggage in via kiosk and would have allowed me to skip the sea of humanity also waiting to begin a day of travels.
  • Maybe we should have chosen a smaller car-seat.  Then it wouldn’t have had to be placed in the ‘over-sized’ luggage pile–over against the far wall–requiring the maximum amount of schlepping.
  • Going through security with two kids, an umbrella stroller, a massive diaper backpack, blankets, a cell phone, and any shoes whatsoever–grave, grave tactical error.
  • I shouldn’t have chosen to fly Northwest–which leaves from the S-terminal…  the one THE FURTHEST away from the airport entrance.
  • Are umbrella strollers supposed to go on escalators?  Hmmmm….
  • Backpack twice the width of my own body on my back…  Baboo 2 in infant carrier on my front….  Little Miss in umbrella stroller pushed up in front of me….  Extraneous ‘comfort items’ (including my flask of whisky) tucked under arms.  Could a person possible manage more things at once?  Maybe this is why my back goes out so often…  I forgot that I’m not part octopus.  Whoops.
  • They kept talking about checking carry-ons that weighed less than a certain poundage, but they wouldn’t let me check either daughter at the gate….  I wonder why…

Yes, the tactical errors abounded.  It’s a wonder that we made it both coming and going, but we did.  Largely because of the huge amounts of unexpected kindness we encountered.

The list of angels incognito:

  • Friends from church who picked up our van from the shuttle bringing us to our departure airport–AND calmed my nerves, AND strapped the carseat in, AND loaned me a ‘This one will sink you with the Court of Motherhood’ leash to use for the journey.
  • The gate attendants who unfolded the umbrella stroller each time we deplaned–and the two who went the extra mile and strapped Little Miss into them.
  • The kind college-aged man we sat next to on the first flight who only laughed good-naturedly when I apologized that he had drawn the ‘short straw.’
  • The flight attendant who helped me take the backpack off of my back in the tiny little airplane.  She saved me and the people around me who likely would have been hit in the face with my swinging the thing otherwise.
  • The mother who came up with her two kids at my ‘ok…  we’re out of lemonade’ moment going into hour 5 at Minneapolis.  As they waiting for their plane, her two  little girls played with Little Miss–and our lemons made lemonade once again.
  • Whoever had the fantastic idea of putting a play area in the Minneapolis airport…  Oh THANK YOU GOD for the play area.
  • The wonderful-with-kids seatmate who scooted into her seat next to the window in our final flight (the one that lasted three hours after our enduring the six-hour layover) who chatted with Little Miss about Dora, read a book with her, and allowed her to play with her earrings and necklace.  And THEN even held Baboo when Little Miss woke up kicking in desperate need of holding and comfort.
  • And finally, and most incredibly, our friends from church who drove my van two hours to Seattle to pick us up at the incredibly late hour of 11:30, and drove us back the two hours to home….  And even took the van into Les Schwabb while I was gone because I had mentioned having a slow-leak in a tire.  The  nail that has apparently been lodged in said tower for probably six-months now, was finally taken care of.  I can’t even believe their kindness.

It was not easy….  It was terrible at moments, and highly doable in others.  It was exhausting and sometimes excruciating… 

But we made it.  And God’s grace met us each step along the way. 

A sense of humor helped too.


7 thoughts on “Tactical Errors and Angels Unaware

  1. So glad you’re back from your trip safe and sound! I have encountered many angels in disguise while traveling alone – how awesome that so many found you on your trip with your girls. 🙂

  2. Oh, how write you are! God’s grace helped us survive our trip too!!! Isn’t it funny how you encounter those ‘angels’ who made your trip a little bit better? I swear God puts them there for a reason. I’m glad you made it through, and hope that you had a great visit! Where in Illinois did you go??? As you probably know, I live in the Land of Lincoln too. I hope you found some angels here too.

  3. AWESOME! I loved this post. I can JUST imagine!!! How wonderful that during it all you noticed the “angels” placed in your path!
    Enjoy your blog! Hope you had a wonderful trip!

  4. Ah, the “traveling-alone-with-small-children” right of passage. You have survived with flying colors and may proudly where the associated ribbon on your uniform. Oh, wait, we don’t get awards for the battles we fight.

    Oh well, it’s a great story and an experience you’ll find funnier as the years go by.

  5. Traveling with young ones does provide an initiation of sorts into the brave hearted parents. I’m quite familiar with the schlepping of too many items and now often offer assistance when traveling without my little ones.

    It’s surprising how many people will spend hundreds of dollars on an airline ticket but do not confirm their ground transportation reservations. Planning and prep are GOOD, but grace will take you the rest of the way.

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