The next time you are waiting in the airport for your flight and you see a family with children who get to board before you and you think "Man, they are lucky..." stop yourself. Here, all this time I thought that "pre-boarding" was a perk, a bonus, an extra-exclusive benefit of having a baby. I was wrong. It's a REWARD. A well-earned, completely deserved, totally warranted prize that parents get in SPITE of bringing their child and their entourage of baby gear along for the ride.
This whole time I thought that parents were issued pre-boarding passes because it was necessary to have them on the plane first - making sure there is room for them to sit together and for all their belongings to make it on the plane. Nope, it's because people feel sorry for you.
"Oh my gosh, look at all that crap. How are they possibly carrying all that stuff with only two arms? And what is that noise? Can they turn that off? Oh - it's their baby - nevermind."
Okay, okay, it's not that bad. I mean, it is my own fault for overpacking and hardly having room to carry my own child. It's like "Sophie's Choice" to get ready for a trip with a baby. "Do I bring the glow worm or the snuggly elephant?" (Both) "Do I bring the practical jammies or the cute ones?" (Both) See what I mean? You can't overpack for a five-month-old really, because every outfit is considered a "back-up"...totally necessary "just in case".
Nevertheless, we woke up blurry-eyed at 3am last Thursday morning before Easter and drove to the metro station which would take us to LAX. Metro is really the way to go - cheap and easy and free parking for a week! What's not convenient, however, is toting a purse, a backpack, a diaper bag, a toiletry bag, two overnight suitcases, a stroller with a carseat and carseat base on and off the metro, in and out of the airport and through security. If it weren't for Josh, his extraordinary patience and his remarkable octopus arms, I don't think I would have made it.
Luckily the 3am wake-up call (OH, and did I mention that it was an Easter Miracle that I woke up on time - no thanks to the alarm that never went off?! Amazing - thank you Jesus! Turns out God IS awake at that hour!) got us to the airport with plenty of time to spare (hello Starbucks). Security was no fun, but no surprise either (yes, you have to take off BABY SHOES as well as your own).
Matilda stayed awake since we stirred her in the middle of the night - so she was sound asleep by the time our plane took off. She slept quite a while and happily woke up for about half the flight. I was very proud of her - she remained happy and observant (though I was sympathetic to a screaming baby several rows in front of us, I was just glad it wasn't mine!) We landed safely in Nashville, and a week later we got our rental car and baggage (well, it seemed to take that long!) and made our way to my brother's house. Whew!
(I'm happy to report the flight home was equally successful. She slept for about 3 hours and was happy till the last ten minutes - at which point Mr. Glow Worm paid his dues for being brought along on the trip - thank you!)