I once heard someone say that going on holiday with little children is not a holiday but a trip. Oh My God! That has to be the understatement of the year! My husband and I took a long trip with our three children aged 8, 4 and 2 at the time. Please do not try this at home, it was not an easy one.
Anyway, so we planned for months, booked our tickets in time (they still cost and arm and a leg) especially since we hard to pay for a seat for the two year old, who unfortunately was barely two days after two at the time of the trip and who preferred to sit on my laps rather than seat the aeroplane seat the entire time. .
The preparations were quite smooth, everyone was extremely excited and super cooperative. The trip to the airport was very short and we were there way before check in time, so you can imagine the long wait of more than three hours before take-off. Surprisingly this went without any incident, and so was the first arm of the trip.
The drama began during the stopover. After about 9hours of flying, my girls had had enough. They were so tired, sleepy and airsick all of a sudden. The excitement had suddenly worn off and been replaced with some sombre mood that completely took me by surprise.
When it was time to board again for the last leg of the trip, my 2 year old shocked me by saying she is scared of the plane, said “Mum-my, am scared of the aeroplane” and refused to board.
“You are scared of the plane?” was my response in shock. This was when I volunteered to carry her and offer to breastfeed her, something I lived to regret because she did not leave my breast the entire trip. I was extremely uncomfortable not to mention that the older children who were ordinarily very independent suddenly wanted to “seat with Mummy”.
By the grace of God we went through the 9 hour flight without drama save for a few bouts of airsickness. Our host was already at the airport waiting when we landed so we left soon after emigration process was completed. We did not have to spend any unnecessary time in the cold. Did I mention it was winter? Yes it was, and my girls were experiencing it for the very first time.
When we arrived at what would be our home for the next couple of weeks, the girls were super tired and went right to bed. It gave me a little time to relax and catch my breath and have some well-deserved time with the adults. My honeymoon was short lived as my little angels were soon visited by the jetlag fairy. They were up at exactly 2am that night and every night after for the next week or so.
For some reason the girls did not adjust very easily to the food. The little one literally had loose stool for the entire time we were there. In addition she barely ate any food and largely depended on fruits. This really kept me on my toes and took all the fun out of the trip for me not to mention the fact that I had my 2yr old in my arms throughout most of the activities.
Thankfully the sun does not stand still because soon the trip was over and it was time to return home. As usual we reached the airport early enough to check in, only this time the flight was delayed for three long hours bringing the entire waiting time to six hours. Anyone who has been around children knows that is a recipe for disaster needless to say that we missed our connecting flight. I remember the conversation I had with the lady at the counter so vividly like it happened yesterday.
“Ma’am, sorry you missed your flight” she said. “Is there another flight?” I asked so desperately. “No,” she said without the least concern “the next flight will be in twenty four hours.” ”Wow,” I said, “Is there provision for accommodation for the night, I am travelling with three children?” “No”, she said, but we will provide you with a set of toiletries.
That must have been the hardest news I had ever received in my life. Fighting back tears and envisioning a night in the airport with my children I attempted to explain, “But I am travelling with little children.”
“Am sorry ma’am,” came her calm response, as she literally moved on to attend to her telephone.
I gathered my children, saying a quiet prayer in my heart for a miracle and headed out to look for a quiet corner in the airport that would be our home for the next 24 hours.
By the grace of God she was able to get us accommodation. The hotel is a story for another day, but we had a good night’s rest and were back to the airport the next day to catch our flight home. The journey back home was quite unceremonious, save for the air sickness but boy was I happy to touch down at Entebbe airport. The heat and dust had never felt so welcoming. I was exhausted but very happy to be home.