Packing up, leaving the house in a cluttered disarray of wrapping paper and toy pieces, and hurrying off to the airport at 8 a.m. just before the holidays, I felt nothing but dread as I looked ahead to our day of travel.
First a two-hour car ride to Orlando where we would drop the car off and wait for a shuttle to the airport. Once there, we would have to check the bags in, go through security, and wait around to board the plane while trying to keep two toddlers amused and calm. The plane ride itself, while a direct flight, was to be three hours. Then picking up our bags on the other side, searching for our ride, and driving another 45 minutes to Nana’s house. What could go right? Probably nothing.
I braced myself for crying, screaming, wriggling embarrassment. Surely the twins would not be able to stomach this epic journey. My memories of the flight down to Florida in May were still fresh in my mind. Adjusting, trying to keep the babies calm while not completely annoying those around us. Babies in captivity. It was harrowing to say the least. In May, we were that family on the plane. That family. But what could we do? How do you keep a kid entertained for hours on end when they aren’t even allowed to move around? There are only so many entrancingly interesting things you can pack in a carry on.
This trip, though, we had a promise on which we could deliver. We were going to see Nana.
I had no idea how much weight that idea would carry. Whenever we had a restless moment, whenever it looked like the twins were going to lose their patience (or their minds), we gently reminded them that we were going through all this to get to Nana.
With that, I saw them set their little jaws in determination and settle into the trip. They were going to see Nana. They didn’t want to mess this up.
And they didn’t. For seven consecutive hours, the babies, in a fit of grim determination, pressed on without tantrum or complaint. They were going to see Nana. Mommy said so. No matter how long it took, or what they had to go through, they knew, at the end of the day, they were going to see Nana.
It is essentially the power of bribery taken to a whole new level. And honestly, I’m lucky they believed me, given all the empty promises I accidentally make to them. You know, like, “We’ll go outside after you eat lunch,” when what I mean is we’re taking a nap after we eat lunch and then if it’s still light out, we’ll go outside. The more truthful I can be, the more promises like seeing Nana will work for me.
I have never been so proud of my little girls, truly.