We spent most of Friday packing our things into 6 suitcases small enough to carry onto the airplane. Each of our kids had a backpack small enough to carry some snacks, Kindles, books, toys, and basically anything they thought they’d want to bring on the plane to keep themselves busy. The snacks I had packed into those backpacks were over-ruled by someone who will remain nameless for now. As we left the house, I defiantly threw some snacks into my large carry-on bag. I have learned throughout the years that with kids, no matter the age, you just have to have snacks.We finally left the house around 9pm and drove (and made very good time) to the hotel in San Francisco. After crashing for the night, we got up at 7:30, packed everything back up, filled up the car, scarfed down what we could of the buffet breakfast before we rushed to the airport for our 10:50am flight to Philadelphia.
That first flight we were all split up. My 6-year-old and I sat in row 13 and the rest of the family was up at the front of the aircraft. As my daughter watched movies and played games I spent most of that flight in and out of sleeping consciousness, jolting awake every few minutes or so as my head fell forward in sleep.
This flight was delayed by 40 minutes. Normally, this would not be a big deal…except for the fact that we originally only had 80 minutes between flights…80 precious minutes when you know you need to use the bathroom and get food.
This flight also was very stingy on the snacks. It was a 5 hour flight where you got 2 drinks and either 1 mini bag of pretzels or 1 mini bag of European ginger cookies. Mind you, the stewardesses were very particular on that 1 bag per person. Throughout this flight, my youngest son made about 5 trips back to me asking me for more of those snacks I had smuggled into my cary-on before we left the house.
We arrived in Philadelphia knowing we had to get to the next flight, stat. As we rushed to terminal A, my husband looks at me and says, “You were right about the snacks” BOOM! My response? I smiled back, cheekily, and said, “I know”.
We get to terminal A with just enough time to use the bathroom. I am out of snacks and we don’t know when we’ll get the next meal. None of us have had a meal since our quick, shove-it-in-your-face buffet breakfast, so my husband runs to the nearest snack shop to buy what he can while we stand in line to board the plane. He comes back with a bag of snacks, we get on the plane and find our seats, disburse the snacks and breathe a sigh of relief that we have made it.
Once we’ve eaten our fill of granola bars, snickers, and chips, an announcement is made that the flight attendants will be coming around with our choice of chicken or pasta dinner. Awesome.
This flight was relatively uneventful. I was thankful that the kids slept most of that flight. I drifted in and out of consciousness—again being startled awake here and there by the flopping of my head. No wonder the coveted seat on those flights is the window so you actually have something to put your head up against so it doesn’t flop forward and startle you awake again. And again. And again. And again.
Our flight arrived in London at 8:45 am. My husband looked at me and said, “what should we do?” I looked at him and said, “well, I think we should head over to where we are staying and crash.” I won.
After figuring out how to get to the underground station we needed to get to and then finding ourselves at the same spot we started out in after making a circle around the station, we figured out where to buy our tickets for the train. We needed to take the train from the airport to Paddington Station and then the underground to Liverpool and then we could get onto the train that would take us into Ipswich. Once we got to Ipswich we took a bus down to Felixstowe. Once we were in Felixstowe, we took our bags and walked 30 minutes to get to the house we were staying at.
Those 30 minutes of walking were the hardest 30 minutes of the journey. We were all so tired. Our poor kids were what I like to call “beyond the beyond”. We definitely did not look like locals walking down the road with our bags, cary-ons, and disheveled 2-day travel looks. But when we got to the house—oh it was heaven. The kids picked out their rooms and got showers, changed, and watched a movie while they ate the snacks our hosts generously left for us in a welcome basket.
Then I stopped long enough to look in the mirror. Oh boy. I had not looked in the mirror since leaving the hotel. Was I a sight to behold…and no, not a good one. It was like my face knew I would not be looking in the mirror for a couple of days, so it said, “hey! Lets brake out in huge ugly zits and grow hair like we’re 13! Let’s break out the white flakiness on the scalp and oooooh, hair! You are going to look like you’ve been doing your own thing for a while!” Yup. You know what I did? I took a long hot shower.
We found a place to eat, had dinner and our 5-year-old fell asleep at the table. That’s when we realized how deliriously exhausted we were. After paying, we went back to the house and everyone went to bed.
It’s 10:49 Monday morning and my kids are still asleep. Happy day after Mother’s Day!