Weekly Column: Fly Me to The Moon

©Stephenie Freeman

I’ve always hated flying. Not only does it scare me (it’s that whole not-being-in-control thing), but it also tends to make me feel sick to my stomach. Weak stomachs and high turbulence don’t mix. I’ve thrown up more times in the Will Rogers Airport than I care to remember.

Adding children to the mix has only made me hate it even more. If the fear of death and vomiting weren’t enough of a reason for me to detest air travel, I now have a new reason—the fear of irritation.

Flying with children always reminds me of that old Bill Cosby sketch where he tells the story of this little boy kept telling everyone onboard how old he was, but the reason that everyone knew his name was because his mother chased him all over the plane saying, “Stop that Jeffery! Come here Jeffery! Sit down Jeffery! Jeffery! JEFFERY!”

It is my greatest flying fear that I will suddenly turn into Jeffery’s mother once we hit a certain altitude or even worse, that I will have two little Jefferys on my hands.

You see, I am a people pleaser. I want anyone and everyone to be happy with me, to immediately like me, especially strangers. I don’t like confrontations and try to avoid any situation that might get emotionally messy, which explains why traveling on a airplane with two young children tends to make my blood pressure go up. I know that it’s practically inevitable that we will make it through the day without irritating someone.

From the moment we unload our bags onto the curb, I worry that we are annoying someone. There’s plenty to be aggravated about air travel nowadays without adding kids and a stressed-out mother to the mix. So I try to be pro-active and defuse the situation ahead of time as much as I can.

May I suggest a strong Valium and a double-shot of Benadryl can do a lot to ease the tension? Oh, and the kids can take something to help them get through the day too if necessary.

We recently flew home to Oklahoma for Spring Break. Before we were even off the ground in L.A. I was pulling out everything I could to keep my little travelers happy. The guy sitting across the aisle from us started to laugh as the Monkey started gnawing on a Butterfinger candy bar that was as long as his arm.

“You not worried about the sugar rush that’s soon to follow?” the traveler asked me.

I just smiled and laughed a light-hearted mommy laugh in hopes of giving him the false impression that I knew exactly what I was doing. I hadn’t planned on the sugar high or sugar crash that a king-sized candy bar was sure to bring. I also hadn’t planned on the melted chocolate mess that was covering my child two minutes later. An entire package of wet wipes and two candy bar wrappers later, all eyes were on us. I suddenly felt like throwing up and we hadn’t even taken off yet.

To make matters worse, my travel bag-of-tricks was only filled with trouble. Nothing that I had brought along to entertain my children was working. They fought over the DVD player. They whined about the lost LEGO pieces down their seats. They left a trail of Goldfish crumbs from their seat all the way to the plane’s bathroom.

The whole time I just sat there waiting for someone to roll their eyes or make a tacky comment, but no one ever did. Maybe it was that third shot of Benadryl that left me seeing things unclearly, but it turns out that the only person on the plane that was irritated with my children was me.

As we landed and started the long walk down the aisle, I held my breath as a fellow passenger started to speak.

“Your boys were such good little travelers!”

Maybe it was her compliment or perhaps it was the Benadryl, but I passed out in the middle of the aisle from the shock.

As people stepped over me to exit the plane, the only one irritating my fellow passengers was me. But I didn’t mind. I thought it was quite an improvement from throwing up all over the terminal.

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