When you are outnumbered, by all means take a large trek

So last Monday was a big day for my crew.

We flew from Austin into Denver, rented a van, and drove 4 hours into the upper northwest corner of Colorado.

I have never flown with four children and no other adult before. I have to admit that the whole experience had me tied up in minor knots. They were not big, scary, go-ask-your-mom-to-help-you-untangle-them knots. But they were knots, nonetheless. Knots that had me questioning, “what if someone needs a bathroom visit at the exact wrong moment?” or “What if Mama’s Boy totally melts down on the plane and I can’t rein him back in?” or “What if my eyeball becomes excessively dry and won’t produce natural tears and I badly need a pharmacy and can’t get to one?” I actually wasn’t really that nervous about my eyeballs, but I did have some crazy questions going through my head.

I viewed yesterday in Phases. Phase 1 was: Get through security. The only thing that happened in that phase was that Snug was determined to remove her shoes even after she’d been told she didn’t need to. No big deal. I gave her the Stink Eye over that. I do that a lot in lieu of punishment. That’s why she keeps messing with me. I do not have control over the situation, clearly.

Phase 2 was: Lunch in the airport. This was a slightly larger hassle than security because 4 plates of pizza and 4 fountain drinks were being added to the carry-ons we already were toting. Even so, there were no train wrecks.

About 10 minutes before we boarded, Mama’s Boy was expressing some rather intense anxiety. He really, really doesn’t like the take-off. So I gave him a half dose of benedryl. He chewed it up. Forty-five seconds later, he said, “It’s not working!” And yet, 30 minutes into the flight he was saying it was “pretty much the best flight he’s ever had.”

Phase 3 was: The flight. This one had me very alert, because I needed to be ready to board after the A group in order to grab 5 seats together. We managed a bathroom visit and the boarding with no issue. But it’s a good thing we boarded when we did, because the flight was packed and we had to sit in the extreme back of the plane to sit together. Even then, we couldn’t really sit totally together. We had a lot of parameters to work within. AG badly wanted a window seat. Mama’s Boy was having flight phobia issues and pretty much had to be next to me.  Beloved wanted the window. So we had on one side of the aisle, Beloved, Mama’s Boy, and me. Across the aisle we had Snug, empty seat, and AG. I tried to talk AG into taking that middle seat so the chain of family would be unbroken, but he was miserable without his view. Both AG and his baby sister  were comfortable with a stranger filling that middle seat and I could reach across the aisle and hold the little one’s hand. So we were off.

I was anxious about who would fill that middle seat between my bookend children. As it turned out, a young pilot flying on stand-by had to sit there. I am pretty sure he briefly considered “painful and sudden death” over sitting there, but he never said so. There was just no other place to go. He was very gracious about it and I was personally comforted by his presence, but I did worry about him just a tad. He definitely got the short end of the stick on that exchange. Snugglepants dropped her Spirit magazine at least 7 times during the flight. And after picking up after her all 7 times, he put in some earplugs and tried to go to sleep. We thought he was asleep enough to pass DS games across him, but he intercepted us each time. Again, he was cool about it. And then–in a split spontaneous second–AG decided he needed to get out to go to the bathroom. The pilot was asleep and J’s tray table was down. These were two rather sizable obstacles. We couldn’t lift the tray table, because the baby was still using it. So he decided to go over the pilot’s feet and under the tray table.This was, at best, terribly horribly awkward. The pilot startled awake just as AG was launching the tray table into the air with his back and snagged the open cup of Sprite. He could not, however, save the cheese nips. Those went flying.

Oh dear, sir. Was this your fear in sitting with us? So sorry.

Phase 4: The rental car. All I can really say about this is that it took too long, cost too much, and I spent 10 minutes driving up and back and up again on airport frontage roads. After I finally made it to the interstate, we did pretty well. The terrain was stunning. We stopped at a little town called Idaho Springs to eat dinner at a McDonalds. Apparently, everyone in this town escaped from the movie set Deliverance and spoke with thick Russian and German accents. I looked over my shoulder 47 times. I feel lucky to be blogging about it, for sure.

About 2 hours into the trip, Mama’s Boy announced, “Mama, you were right. This is a wonderful adventure.” Ahh. That made it all worthwhile. My deodorant was failing me, but my kids were happy.

Ten minutes later, he slapped his own forehead and shouted out, “What in the world are we even DOING? This is nothing but a long car ride!”

I’m pretty sure he hears voices in his head.

I hear them, too.

But we made it. It was both a long car ride AND a wonderful adventure. And except for a discolored ankle and a debilitating loss on the Quidditch field, I have no scars.

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