I recieved a bit of clarity on my recent vacation. I remember in the past riding on planes and rolling my eyes when a parent got on board with their child. You look around to the other childless passengers, giving each other that knowing look, “this is going to be a long flight”. You grumble under your breath when the child cries or screams. You’re irritated with the parents for subjecting you to this.
My perspective has changed. I got on a plane last week and the child across the row was screaming. You could hear nothing else but ear shattering screaming. This child was my sons age. I realized that my perspective has changed. I saw a two year old screaming because he couldn’t communicate what he wanted/needed/felt. I wondered if he was scared, tired, or maybe hungry? I saw a frantic father trying to stay calm. He was wiping his brow of sweat as he tried to reason with an irrational screaming toddler. I felt overwhelming empathy for this dad. I wanted to tell him I understood and wondered if I could help. I wondered what the root of the tantrum was really about. I felt sorry for them as everyone around them scoffed and snarled.
It occurred to me I am not ready for this adventure with Parker. I’ve never seen him act like this and have no reason to believe that he would. But with a days flight to Africa looming in our future I came to the conclusion that the extensive flight would be more torturous for a little human who spills over with excess energy than it would be for me to cut my trip shorter and go alone leaving him with a willing grandmother. I have many adventures in mind for our future but maybe tying him to a seat for twenty four hours isn’t one for the immediate future. I know people do it all of the time, but I’ve spoke to these people. They drug their children. Not sure that is a path I’m willing to take either.