I was supposed to be on a direct flight from Indianapolis to Salt Lake City Friday morning with Addie and Vivi for a wedding on Saturday, Addie was going to fly home alone on Monday and I was going to stay behind with Vivi until Saturday.

Because of weather the flight was cancelled Thursday evening and Addie and I were re-booked on separate flights.

By the time I managed to get all of us on the same flight we were rerouted through Atlanta turning what would have been a three hour flight into an all day seven-hours-on-a-plane ordeal.

Fight or flight kicked in and flight won. If you remember my last solo flight with Vivi, it didn’t go so well.

I sobbed to Cody, feeling terribly ashamed that there are times when I cannot conquer what my brain does to me and he is left dealing with the aftermath. Plans changed quickly and rather than flying out with both girls and staying until Saturday as planned, I flew out with just Addie and will be returning with her Monday night.

My fears seemed a little less silly as we sat on our first plane for nearly two hours before it pulled away from the gate. When we got to Atlanta we didn’t have two hours between flights, we had 15 minutes.

I can do stressful parenting situations, give me poop, give me vomit, give me just about anything but being alone on a plane with a toddler. I did my time, I’ve taken well over 50 flights with Addie and just shy of a dozen with Vivi. I was okay with a direct flight, less variables, less opportunity to get stuck. Get on, get off, be done. Add in connections, weather, strange cities in the opposite direction of where I’m headed, coupled with two long flights and the possibility of worse weather? Nope.

There was a toddler on our second flight, probably the exact same age as Vivi. She was a dream. Barely a peep. The mom had all of her wits about her, she talked in third person for both her and her daughter, she used phrases like “Good teamwork! Lilly needs to use her indoor voice on the plane! What a fine choice Lilly made to respect mommy’s personal space with her banana! Say hello to all of our special plane friends Lilly!” At one point the mom offered her shirt as a tissue for the toddler “That’s why mommy wears ratty clothes on a plane Lilly!”

I am not that mom. I admire that kind of mom, but I am not that mom.

I spent four hours telling myself it’s okay that I am not that mom, Vivi is not that toddler and would have been shrieking like a banshee from Georgia to Utah leaving me a crumpled heap of my former self by the time we made it to Salt Lake.

I know there are a handful of things I do not and can not handle well, lately toddlers on planes is one of them.

When the article ‘Xanax ‘helps me be a better mom” began making the rounds I thought “Well, duh.” I read the article waiting for some huge breakthrough or confession, thinking maybe I was reading a follow up article to another salacious confession of a parent who sometimes needs to put their own oxygen mask on before helping someone else.

Nope.

There was a time I could spend four weeks at a time away from Cody. I would go days without talking to him. People thought it was so strange that we could spend so much time apart and not talk. I was convinced it was because we were so confident in our relationship that we didn’t have to rely on each other. We may have been married but we were still totally independent people. GO US.

Yeah, that way of thinking is what nearly led to our downfall.

Now the thought of being without Cody for longer than a day or two makes me weepy. I want to be with him more now than I did 12 years ago when we were two little kids wildly infatuated with one another. As I sat through speeches dedicated to the couple getting married I wanted to grab the couple by their arms and say “YOU GUYS MARRIAGE IS SO AMAZING AND WORTH IT BUT YOU ARE GOING TO HATE EACH OTHER SO MUCH SOMETIMES YOU ARE GOING TO WANT TO THROAT PUNCH EACH OTHER.”

One guy said the best marriage advice he ever got was if you ever start fighting just start stripping your clothes off.

I couldn’t do the flight with Vivi. Where I am weak Cody is strong. He stepped in and picked up the pieces I was too fragile to manage on my own. I’m not sure how my mental instabilities will play out over Addie and Vivi’s lifetime, but I’d like to think that with Cody around they’ll never be so big we can’t manage them. He’s a good guy. We have some pretty swell kids. We’re managing just fine.

*photo by Justin Hackworth.

Comments

  1. Sometimes I am that mom you talk about who talks in the third person but for the most part, I’m not. And it’s nice to know that I’m not alone and that it’s okay not to be _that_ mom. I often have to remind myself that just because I’m not that mom doesn’t mean I’m a bad one.

    Casey Reply:

    @Jackie, I have had to learn not to say terrible things about *that mom* in my head. She’s trying just as hard as I am, doing the best she can, just in a very different way that I totally don’t do. If I do say terrible things in my head, 90% of the time it’s because I’m insecure with myself. Go figure.

  2. I’ll take snakes on a plane over toddlers any day.
    It takes strength to know and admit what does and doesn’t work for you. Just saying you fit in perfectly with that swell family of yours.

    Casey Reply:

    @Joules, Give me ALL THE SNAKES. snakes>toddlers

  3. It is wonderful having someone there who supports you in your weaknesses and strengths. Blessings to you,my friend.

    Casey Reply:

    @Lucrecer, It really, REALLY is. xoxo

  4. You are not weak because you know your limits- that makes you smart and wise. Keep saying this to yourself until you believe it.

    Casey Reply:

    @Ami, Yes boss Ami.

  5. Robby Slaughter says:

    Glad you are all okay.

    And no matter what your brain says, you’re a great mom. In fact, you’re the greatest mom of all to those two girls.

    Casey Reply:

    @Robby Slaughter, Thank you. I think so too.

  6. Good for you! You are all better for that choice. Knowing and enforcing your limits is such a healthy thing for everyone, yet it is so hard to do! Thanks for the reminder, pal. xoxo

    Casey Reply:

    @Barb @ getupandplay, No problem. :)

  7. Vivi is still too young to tell you why she gets upset on the plane and too young to reason with. When she’s older, maybe she’ll be able to tell you that her ears hurt or she’s scared. Until then, you did the smart thing and left her home with Cody. Putting her through that is traumatizing for you, but also for her (and okay, probably the other passengers).

    I’ve done an extremely long bus ride with a 3 1/2-year-old and 1-year-old. There was the Iowa to California (we drove back), then the round trip. On the way back, we stayed overnight in Salt Lake City. The next morning, the bus was late (an hour? more?). There was a line of people waiting. We were late getting into Denver and the only bus was crowded. This was 8:30 p.m. We opted to wait for the next bus. They didn’t bring another bus until about 3 a.m. It’s a good thing I had bought snacks at the 7-11 down the block in Denver, as the bus didn’t stop until Omaha. At Omaha, the people in the bus station restaurant didn’t want to serve us because they were afraid the bus would leave without us. I insisted (and the bus didn’t leave without us). At Des Moines, the bus company had to put my family up for the night in a motel and pay for meals and a taxi to the motel and back because we had missed our connection north. We call it the trip from hell.

    However, neither of my daughters spent the traveling time shrieking like a banshee, luckily. (I’m not blaming you for that – kids do stuff we can’t explain or figure out how to make them stop, sometimes.) I can totally understand wanting to never go through that again, and believe me, it’s the right decision.

    Also, yay for you and Cody being able to work together. That overnight stop in Salt Lake City? It was so I could go to the Family History Library. However my husband didn’t want to watch the kids in the motel room by himself and so I spent a very little time in the FHL and didn’t actually get anything done.

    Casey Reply:

    @CaySedai, Addie and I had some pretty major traveling trials and adventures, but it was before Lupron and before anxiety. Whole different me, different kid, I know my limits these days.
    Bummer you missed on a good trip to the FHL, that place is Disneyworld to people who know what to do there.

  8. I needed to read this post today.

    Marriage is so amazing…but so hard. And even the bestest marriages need work.

    Ours needs work right now to understand the being strong part. To understand when to be a rock and when to NOT manage a person who is fine.

    Thank you for writing this and sharing it.

    Casey Reply:

    @Katie, No problem, hope all things begin fitting together for you.

  9. You are amazing parents together. :)

    Casey Reply:

    @Pgoodness, Together being the key word. ;)

  10. Banana space-invading is no joke. That stuff is hard to manage.

    I gained a lot of respect for you both when I learned more of your story, and I think that it’s cool to be able to admit weaknesses so that your partner can bear you up. I’m sure it works the other way around, too. I mean, what with Cody sucking at Valentine’s Day and all.

    Seems like the best part of growing up in a marriage is learning, with your partner, when to be strong, and when to let go, and you gotta be able to do both.

    Casey Reply:

    @neal, It’s so true. He knows me so much better than I know myself sometimes and it’s overwhelming and comforting and so so safe.
    Thank you.

  11. You are a wonderful mom. You are strong, SUPER strong, especially in the face of everything you’ve dealt with from wonky brain chemicals (which is not meant to be an insult – I have them too!!). And it takes a lot of strength to be able to accept how to cope in the places you feel most vulnerable, most weak, and to be able to ask for help is huge – it might have been difficult to do, but leaving Vivi with Cody for this short trip was probably what your brain/sanity needed. I’m glad you have a kick-ass husband to be step in when you need a little assistance.

    Annnd I hope you’re having a wonderful time on your trip.

  12. Once again your writing makes me weepy!! Weepy because I also have limits, and because, um, what would I be without how supportive/amazing/life changing my husband is. People say marriage takes work, and it’s hard, and all that… but I feel like no one ever tells you how WORTH it is. All of it.

    Cheers to you and Cody, from one more super in love couple :)

    Ps- more pics of the kids in instagram, please?

  13. I could have written this myself, especially after recently traveling without my husband, but with my 10 month old son who howled and thrashed around on the flight home. I cried when I saw my husband, who had decided to park the car to help with luggage, and told him I was never doing that alone again. :p I think it took a long weekend apart for me to remember how grateful I am that he’s around and just how much I love him and need him.

  14. I keep trying to think of what I want to say and it just isn’t coming out right. I think you made the absolute right decision by asking Cody to stay with Vivi. The added stress wouldn’t have been worth it. I think I would have had a meltdown myself if I was in the exact same situation. I think that’s what partners are for. So you have someone to hold you up when you are weak. I will readily admit that in many ways my husband is better equipped to be a parent. I am the fun one, the silly one, I make sure they have clothes to wear and get to school. But my patience wears so thin and I need my husband to remind me that they are children and to step in and do all the other components of parenting that just don’t come naturally to me.

  15. Love this post!! I think the best mom to be is the one that admits what they can’t handle. Because you are then not putting you or your child in a situation that can negatively impact your relationship. It may make us feel guilty at that moment. But the end result is so worth it. I bet reuniting with Vivi after being gone was more wonderful than a stressful flight with her.