On the morning that I was to fly back to Minne, without the boys, I shocked myself by sitting at the terminal gate in tears. There I sat with a delightful venti Chai tea latte (extra whip cream) in hand, a good book to read, and the busy aircraft just out the window in front of me, and yet I did not quite know what to do with myself and the all that luxurious time...so, I do what seemed like the most logical thing to do at that time. I cried. ha! Yep, you read that right. As I sat there thinking how still and quiet it all was (in this busy airport no less) I just cried. I think the businessmen sitting on either side of me thought I was insane. I tried to fake like it was allergies, but between the frequent sniffs and wiping of the eyes, I don't think my idea passed. Crazy right?! Here I am, in much needed rest and quiet...without kids so that I can think, process, and just be...and yet I cry the very hour that I leave my kids. ha! How pathetic. Aaahhhh...I think when you are just so used to doing practically everything with a two year old and a five year old, that when you finally do get that chance to use the bathroom by yourself in a public facility or take a sip of Chai tea out of peace and not out of desperation, you just go numb...at least that's what I did. You question what you are supposed to be doing and if you are doing it right. (I am referring to the simple things like using the bathroom, washing your hands, sipping your tea and boarding an aircraft.)
Your routine as a mother is not about yourself and the task at hand; it is about including your little ones in the processes and making sure they are safe while learning about and accomplishing the functions. Everything I do throughout the day with my boys is a learning opportunity for them, so naturally I want to break down and teach the individual parts of the processes that we do every single day. (And no, the lady in the nearby stall does not care how to take the toilet paper off of the roll and yes, she already knows what not to touch in a public restroom. What?!) Can I actually board an airplane without juggling a stroller, purse, diaper bag, 2 kids and 2 roller carry-on bags? Am I capable of doing that anymore? Why is it that these simpler tasks seem so difficult now?
As the gate agent started the boarding process, it took me a few minutes to realize that I was not loading first...I didn't need the extra time to strap both children into their seats with the safety seatbelts. I didn't need the extra time to collapse and cover the stroller before placing by the door at the end of the terminal. I didn't need the extra time to get out the blankees, b's (paci's), snacks, and airplane books and distribute them to child #1 and child #2 now settled in their seats. I didn't need to then get all my 4 bags stored in the above hatches.
I checked my seat number again. Middle of airplane. I would be the third group called. I can do this. Oh wait? Have I used the restroom yet? Yes. I did that 15 minutes ago. (I couldn't remember because there was no drama attached to it.) Checklist: Put purse in carry-on bag. Zip suitcase. Get out handbag. Place book, pen, paper, and phone in handbag. Chai tea in hand. Was that my section that was just called? I slowly get up and walk to gate agent. She scans and then hands me my boarding pass; thank you Lord that I am on the flight. Walk down ramp. Wait in line to get on aircraft. One roller bag. One shoulder bag. One chai tea latte in hand. Step on airplane. Smile at flight attendant and say hello to crew. Walk down aisle until I reach my seat. Placed bag directly above seat. Sit down with Chai tea in hand and handbag on floor beneath seat in front of me. Text family to let them know I am on flight and to check on boys. Buckle seatbelt. (No one is sitting next to me.) I sit and stare out window and at seat in front of me for several minutes (not sure how long). I teared up...well, maybe cried just a bit more. At some point, I pull out book "The Five Love Languages of Children" by Gary Chapman and pen. I sip Chai tea as I read and underline. About mid-flight, a lady just behind me on the other side of the aircraft leans up to tell me she's proud of me for reading this book...that she thinks all parents need to read this book. I agree. Back to reading. As the plane descends onto the Minneapolis runway, I close the last page of the book. End of flight. End of book. Wow. Is it really that simple?
I realized after the flight, that although I truly enjoyed reading a book from start to finish during flight, and being able to sip my chai tea and not worry about a wandering little hand with a toy airplane knocking over my precious drink, that I missed the crazy. I missed the busy. I missed the lessons learned and the adventure that comes on a flight with two small boys. Yes, I cherished and was thankful for the quiet time. I needed it. However, this trip showed me how much I enjoy sharing each traveling experience with my little men.
No matter how hard and long the days get sometimes, the responsibility of a mother is the most cherished one of all. One that I do not take for granted. And one that I will be forever grateful to God for entrusting to me.
The Nolen Family
Parker: age 5 1/2
Cooper: age 32 months
The current favorite Disney characters for the boys...besides Mater of course!...are Chip and Dale. Parker and Cooper have a Classic Chip n' Dale DVD that has a selection of classic shows that feature the chipmunks, so naturally, the two boys were excited to see the characters in life!
The boys stayed with Nana, Poppie and the girls at Disney's newest resort, Art of Animation. Parker was so proud to show his daddy and me his bedside spot...right where Mater snored soundly with him. :) Orange traffic cones for lampshades, coneshaped carpet designs, coneshaped designs on the curtains, toolbox style dresser drawers...no detail left forgotten. It was the perfect little boy's suite.
Clay and I opted for the
Carrie: Soarin' at Epcot
Parker: (he says something different everytime I ask...he truly loves them all!)
Cooper: Cinderella's Carousel, It's a Small World, Nemo, Dumbo...happily smiling with every ride though!
Clay: Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom
Nana, Poppie and girls, thanks for taking such amazing care of our boys at Disney and for including us in some of the fun!! Clay and I were so excited to be able to go and be a part of the theme park adventure!
**Currently, I am working on getting up to date with our family's Project Life albums and in getting all of our Disney trip memorabilia and pictures sorted through and recorded in the books. This year, I am being much more selective than I was in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, we were there for Christmas and in 2009, for the Halloween celebration...and for almost 2 weeks... so more actual Disney decoration is printed and displayed in our albums during those years than will be this time. For this trip, I am focusing more on conversations and funny things that the boys did and said than actual pictures.