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  • Writer's pictureMyranda

I Flew Across The Country!

Updated: Jan 7, 2023

My solo parent flight with my 2 year old was a success! I took some time on our flight to Seattle to write this post. Now that we had time to spend with my family and we've been home for a week, I'm ready to share! Written during the flight from DC to Seattle

There is no amount of preparation that can be done to get ready for a solo parent flight across the country. I had hoped and prayed for weeks that my child would stay up late and sleep for most of the morning. This did not happen. I woke up with about 3.5 hours of sleep under my belt, she had about 4. I got her dressed right before it was time to leave and she didn't fall back to sleep on the way to the airport. She was awake! We got checked in, checked our bag, made our way through security and found our gate...which just happened to be next to a Starbucks stand. She wanted to run around. She didn't want to be in her stroller. I get it. She's an active child. However, being by myself, carrying my over-packed backpack and purse while pushing the stroller...sorry kid! There just wasn't any way to do that! To keep her calm, I got her the cheese and cracker box and some milk and we had some "special snacks" (aka fruit snacks that she doesn't get often).

As it got closer to time to board the plane, I let her sit in a chair. This didn't go well. Again...she wanted to run around and I wish I could have let her but it just wasn't possible. I managed to keep myself calm on the outside but I could feel my body temperature rising with every cry and yell and scream. I would pick her up and she would flail around and start yelling, "HELP!" Sweat starts to pour down my back and the tears...I can't hold them back. I whisper beg her, "Please, baby. Stop yelling. Do you want special snacks? If you sit down, Mommy will give you special snacks." The tears pulled back long enough for us to get on the plane and to our seats. Nicole, a wonderful flight attendant sits in front of us and talks with us. She tells me not to worry about anything. It's okay if she gets fussy. It's okay if she has a melt down. She tells me not to worry about what the other passengers think. Her kindness with all my stress leading up to the flight just brought on so many tears.

Y'all...if you've never cried in public while wearing a mask...let me tell you. It's the worst! You have tears soaking into your mask making it wet and then you're trying not to get snot all up inside the mask you have to keep on your face for the next 6 hours. Add to it that my daughter took my travel size pack of tissues and destroyed them the night before last which means that I'm trying my best to not get snot all over my hand. Not to mention the dad that walked by while I was crying in my seat who said, "Mom, you're doing great." That almost made me lose it all over again. Now let's rewind for a second. All this stress has made me a little less regular (if you know what I mean) and my stomach isn't feeling right. Normally I love to fly but this is hard! I usually do fine with little sleep before flying but trying to keep my cool so my daughter stays calm when we've both had next to no sleep is rough.

We made it a little over an hour into the flight when she asked to watch Pinocchio instead of Alice in Wonderland. Minutes into Pinocchio she fell asleep and she slept for about 3.5 hours. She would wake up a little bit when she was adjusting and trying to get comfortable. She would let out a little bit of a whine but would go back to sleep. Toward the end of the flight, Nicole came back to me and asked me if I wanted some wine. I must have looked defeated so I said okay. She said it was in a can so I could take it with me if I didn't want it then. I figured that's what I would do and then this is what was brought to me.

"I know being a mom is hard and some days can be more difficult than others, but just know you're doing amazing. Freya is lucky to have such a kind mother. Have fun with your family at your sister's wedding! Love Crew from AS1"

Not only did I get wine but they gave me some dark chocolate with sea salt. My daughter and I shared one of the bars...well I had like a small chunk and she finished it. We landed and she did great. She got this little excited nervous look when we landed but we cheered that we landed and were getting ready to see Grandma and then I saw the look and she started to throw up all the chocolate that she had just eaten. It just kept coming out. Nicole was amazing and helped me. We managed to keep it contained in her sweatshirt. Unfortunately they had cut the water off so I wasn't able to really wash my hands but we got her sweatshirt off of her without the puke going everywhere. We waited until everyone was off and then we made our way off. We unfolded our stroller and got to the family bathroom. I changed her clothes and got her cleaned up. We made our way to baggage claim, found our bag and got outside. I talked to my mom to find out where she was and when I saw her car, I cried again! It's been 5 years since the last time I got to spend any time with her. We got everything in the car, my daughter in her car seat and then I hugged my mom! We made our way to the Taco Time closest to her house and I got my favorite food for the first time in 6 years and all feels right with the world!

Oh...and yes...I drank the wine on the plane on a practically empty stomach and then I took a nap after lunch.

Now that the trip is over and I look through my pictures, I didn't document our return flight home. I have one picture from before take off and one in the truck on our way home. Regardless, here's a little recap of that return flight. Thursday and Friday were kind of a whirlwind. The rehearsal for my sister's wedding was Thursday afternoon and her wedding Friday evening but we (my mom and I) had some cookies left to finish up and I was DETERMINED to make sure that all of our laundry was done, our bag was packed, and anything we couldn't pack was separated to be shipped out before we left for the winery Friday afternoon. I'll say this...#MissionAccomplished. Since I had everything packed before we left for the wedding, all that was left was our bathroom bag after we brushed our teeth in the morning. We wore our PJs to bed and those were the clothes we wore home. I was looking at our flight information before I went to bed and found a few emails. I had the check in online email and then I had two additional emails. They had changed our flight to a smaller plane but then were looking for passengers to volunteer to leave later because the flight was overbooked. This meant that the assigned seats I had picked...the ones that would make us the only two in our row...were the same but we had a stranger next to us. I thought about contacting Alaska to find out if they would do vouchers for both of us to leave later or the next day but we were ready. I was mentally prepared to leave. We managed to get about 6 hours of sleep! Much better but I was still hoping that my daughter would sleep on the plane...and she did! We took off, we were allowed to use our devices and I put on Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous and before the first episode was even halfway over she was out. I fell asleep off and on through the flight. She woke up with about an hour left of the flight. Well...it was supposed to be about an hour left but we were detoured south because of some weather. About 45 minutes before landing and before we hit any kind of weather or turbulence, she got sick. I was ready this time with a sick bag but wasn't fast enough. Some got on her but most went in the bag. I was able to call for a flight attendant to bring me a bigger bag. The crew was kind but nothing compared to Nicole and the flight attendants on that first flight. They didn't ask if they could help or provide anything else aside from the bag. When we landed, we got her stroller and made our way to the bathroom and got her cleaned up. Unfortunately because my husband can't adjust his driving, his constant flooring it and abrupt stopping made her car sick on the way home. Poor baby had a rough day of travel but we got home, took a shower, ate some pizza for dinner and went to bed. I flat out told my husband that he can never leave me because there is no way I can be a full time single parent. Just being away for almost 2 weeks gave me all sorts of respect (which I already had) for single parents. His response was something about that's why he didn't like to travel with his boys when they were little...to which I said but you didn't do it alone. I did it alone. Not the same thing. I will never fly solo with our child again...at least not until she is much older and can tell me if/when she is going to be sick.

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