H- We are above the clouds! Me – I know buddy. Did you think you’d ever be up here? H – Oh it’s like a dream FINALLY come true. Me – Oh that’s awesome. H - A dream I had for a very, very, very, long time. Me – Ooooook I see where you’re going with this.
From the moment we booked the flight to Florida and told the girls about it, the anticipation meter officially began to fill. They asked daily and talked constantly about getting to go on their first plane ride and how they eagerly wanted to be in Florida. This is one of the many reasons why I don’t tell them things. But they were understandably excited and so was I. Nervous, but excited.
When the morning finally arrived, it was like waking up on Christmas morning, partially because of how early in the morning it was (5am), but mostly because of the excitement. The girls popped out of bed, threw on their clothes, grabbed their backpacks and were ready to hit the road/skies. Checking in was a breeze and surprisingly so was the security check. The girls excitedly wheeled their suitcases (with light-up wheels) up and down escalators, onto the train and up to our gate. When it was time to board, they sprinted down the jetway to the plane and counted down the seats to get to row 23, grabbing compliment after compliment on their fun vacation hats. We settled in to the seats, got out the gum we’d picked up at the souvenir shop to help with the pressure in their ears, and patiently waited for takeoff.
The only thing I really remember about my first plane ride was that my parents hooked me and my brother up with a new container/mini garbage can of M.U.S.C.L.E men that would keep us entertained the whole trip (or at least for the short portion that I was ever awake for a trip). I’m pretty sure we flew at night so once we were up, that was it for sights. I slept through the landing (in case you’re looking for a theme to my travel habits, it’s sleep) which means I missed that part too, but at least I remember the little plastic figurines and playing with them before conking out. The girls on the other hand, had backpacks full of everything they’d need from iPads with big colorful headphones and Frozen queued up, to new notebooks ready for stories to be filled into them, to books they just bought at the book fair. Hopefully they’ll remember what was in their bag as much as I remember my M.U.S.C.L.E. men.
Takeoff went as well as I could have hoped. They chomped their gum hard and loud and didn’t seem to have any problems with their ears. They watched Frozen, wrote in their notebooks, checked out Sky Mall, befriended people around us and did what they normally do, only in a more confined space. As the plane started to descend, I told the girls that they should start chewing gum again. Of course “Dumb Old Dad” didn’t know what he was talking about, so they refused. About 10 minutes later, they were in tears from the pressure and begging me to help them. The gum helped a little, but it wasn’t enough to stop the pain completely. Luckily we made it through that minor emergency and the pilot greeted them with their first pair of wings on the way out the door of the plane.
Besides the little hiccup with the ears, they did amazingly well on the flight and I was really proud of them. The best part of the trip wasn’t just that we made it to Florida in a couple of hours and we were ready to hit the beach before lunchtime that day, it was how much fun the girls had on their first flight and how well they travelled. Plus, I have to admit they did look pretty damn cute running through the airport with those hats and suitcases.
(Part II of the vacation story will come soon)