I missed my family. Or my family missed me. One way or the other, we had to get to Wichita. Big Rafe was hard at work, so little guy and I took off.
We had flown before as a family, plus my mom, so I knew the basic ins and outs of flying with a “lap child.” But without the convenience of being able to pass a fussy baby off to another person, and then another, and having four extra hands to lug luggage, I was in for a challenge.
I strapped the baby on with the wrap, draped the diaper bag across my chest, hooked the car seat around my elbow, and dragged an extra large suitcase behind me. My set up would have been perfect if I hadn’t accidentally chosen the farthest parking garage possible.
A man in steel-toed boots and an orange vest hopped on the elevator with us. Rafe immediately waved at him and started calling him dada, making everyone very uncomfortable. The guy was a total trooper though, doing his best to make conversation with an infant, a creature he clearly had never spent much time around.
“When you check your bags, that’s where they go,” he told Rafey, pointing to a series of conveyor belts and chutes as the doors closed. I wasn’t sure what reaction he was expecting from a ten month old, but he didn’t get it. He shrugged and explained to me which garage would be better for our next flight. I appreciated that and have since forgotten everything he said
We made it through a maze of tunnels and escalators, elevators and breezeways to the check-in area. It teemed with slews of amped up youth group kids in matching t-shirts and hurried businessmen. Rafe was growing anxious in the sling and his wiggling loosened the knot. He must have felt the relief because he continued to arch his back in an attempt to simultaneously break away from me and break his neck. A similarly loaded down mom and I exchanged solidarity smiles. Then a man in a suit with a briefcase made a beeline towards me with wide eyes and frantically asked if he could help me. “That’d be great,” I said, just needing to adjust babe in the carrier.
“Okay,” he began. “You’ll want to enter your confirmation number in this computer here, and then take your boarding passes to the front desk lady there. She’ll take your checked baggage and then you can head up those stairs to security.”
I believe this is what the Internet would call “mansplaining.”
Still, I appreciated his concern and I thanked him. I continued to trek toward the computers like I already knew to do, feeling Rafe squirm against my chest trying to crane his neck to see where the heck we were.
With my boarding passes printed and my checked luggage paid for (miss you, Southwest), we stood in line to drop off our stuff. Another gentleman in a suit quickly let me know I had cut him.
If you’re a grown up, let’s stop being concerned about being “cut.”
All of my elders would be proud of me for not immediately biting this man. I simply apologized for the confusion and moved all of my stuff out of his very important way.
Once I dropped off the extra stuff, we were golden. Rafe was charming as usual, smiling and waving at the flight attendants. He slept most of the flight, and save for one “Oops this snack mix is spicy” incident, didn’t shed a tear.
We had a great time in Kansas visiting my family and can confidently make the trip again. I was thankful for the number of people that offered help or smiles or at least pretended not to notice what a disaster I was. One self-important jerk out of the thousands we passed isn’t too bad.
Nice job, world.