I love to people watch and airports are a great place to do that. Over the Thanksgiving holiday my family flew to Idaho with a lay-over both ways in Denver. That's four separate flights if you're scoring at home. Flying with children is always tricky. You have to carry a lot of stuff, figure out how to warm a bottle in flight, try to schedule flights at nap time - and these days, wrestle with your 10 month old daughter at the security check in so they can make sure she's not wearing shoe bombs.
I started watching people at the gate and on the plane and it was fascinating to sense what they were thinking when they saw our family.
There were the young single people who just thought our girls were adorable.
There were the frequent flying businessmen who had been serving money all day, suddenly dropping their cell phones and promising God half of next years gross profits if He would seat them as far away from us as possible.
There was the newlywed couple sharing earbuds and watching re-runs of The Office
on their laptop. They didn't notice us, but we stared at them trying to remember what it was like to travel before we had children.
There was the first time pregnant woman watching us hand out crayons, clean up spilled drinks, make multiple trips to the bathroom and handing kids back and forth, seeing her future and wondering if she was prepared for it. "You're not!" I wanted to tell her.
There were the knowing nods from other parents traveling with children.
My favorites, hands down were the older couples who have been there and done that. They want to tell you about their grown children and share stories about traveling with them when they were young. The women usually remember these times fondly. The men are less delusional, but at least serve as an inspiration that you can survive all this.
Truth be told, the girls did great. We even made it through being stuck on the ground at D/FW airport for 30 minutes waiting for a gate to open up at the end of our long journey home. When we finally arrived at the gate, an older woman who had been sitting in front of us turned and said she hadn't even realized there were small children right behind her.
I helped her get her bag down from the overhead bin. Then she put her hearing-aids back in and headed for the door.