There is a window of time when flying with twins is dreadful. In my opinion, the year between 1-2 years old, is the most trying to take a cross-country flight. They are approaching the time in their life when sitting still is lame and walking, moving, grabbing everything in sight, being anywhere but on your lap is better. They have the attention span of a gnat, so watching videos is not really an option. They are still limited in their snacks so food as an activity isn’t possible and speaking of activities, there isn’t that much a 1-year-old is capable of in the world of in-flight activities. It sucks for us and for them. Considering our families do not live near us, in order to see them we are forced to fly with the twins.
Thankfully, the times when my husband couldn’t fly with me, my dad would be my airport buddy and fly the friendly skies with me and the boys. One particular trip the babies were exhausted and having troubles getting settled. They just wanted to be held and the only thing that helped was walking the aisles.
Up and Down
So up and down the aisles we went, holding the boys who were desperate to sleep but struggling to get comfortable. On one trip back my dad looked pissed. He told me that a man, mid-way up the plane, had his legs stretched out into the aisle and every time my dad passed by holding a baby the guy had to pull his legs back from the aisle. As my father passed, the man told him that if he walked by him again that he would trip him. Trip a man holding a crying baby. It still makes me enraged and brings tears to my eyes when I think about that, almost 2 years later.
Apparently, it was a huge inconvenience for that man to have to keep moving his legs, but it was an utter joy for us to walk up and down the aisle holding fussy babies. My dad told the flight attendant, who spoke with the guy. She came back and asked that we just don’t walk past him because he is very angry. I know she was honestly concerned about a possible confrontation and having to ground the plane, so thought maybe this was the easier solution.
It took everything I had not to confront that soulless individual. Couldn’t he see the desperation on our faces as we walked the aisles. I would bet my life that I was much more uncomfortable holding a one-year old for 6 hours than he was having to retract his legs. My back was aching, my arms were burning, my heart was breaking that my children were struggling and too young to communicate what they needed. I felt horrible for everyone else having to listen to them cry when we were in our seats and listen to me sing as I tried to comfort them as we walked. I am not a good singer.
I wanted to call him out in front of the entire flight, for being a person without an ounce of empathy for the new mother desperately trying to soothe her infant twins or the Grandfather trying so hard to give his daughter a break so she didn’t have to constantly hold two babies. How can someone be so horrible?
I wonder if he ever thinks about us the way I have thought about him every time I board a plane with the boys? Apologizing to anyone sitting near us or using some self-deprecating joke about them picking the short straw. It is pretty amazing to see people already seated watch us walking down the aisle with twins. The fear in their eyes that we might be seated next to them is real. Once they realized they were in the clear, you could literally hear an intense breath of relief as we passed by. It’s like a walk of shame down the aisle, and all I did was have a baby.
When I saw JetBlue released a commercial showing the immense anxiety that comes with traveling with young children, I was able to let go of some of the anger I still feel about that guy’s behavior toward my father and baby.
Because I knew, that this man, just like the passengers in the JetBlue commercial, would be applauding every time a baby cried. If he had been told he could have a discount every time a baby cried he would have been shaking our hands instead of threatening us each time we passed by his seat.
I let the anger go because I realize that after that flight, I went back to a happy self, whereas he still had to carry that misery around within him. Anyone who threatens to trips someone has to be dead inside.
So, thank you JetBlue because I’m going to change my attitude going into our next flight. The only time I will apologize for my twins is if they kick your seat repeatedly or throw up on you. They are two and cannot help it, others are adults who can.
I ask of you, the next time you see parents walking down the aisle of the plane with young ones, instead of glaring at them with disdain and horror, maybe offer them a smile and even an extra set of hands. That simple gesture will alone might change the behavior and circumstances of your flight and of the children sitting next to you.