Traveling mercies

It turned out to be no big deal to pass Mercy’s milk through the security at LAX. No questions even asked! I am pretty sure that the spectacle we were (at least eight buckets of things to pass through the X-Ray machine, in addition to two carseats and a very large double stroller and of course the two infants) was a sufficient explanation for the contents of our bags. I did lose our baby sunscreen, however. I always have some in the diaper bag and I guess it just didn’t occur to me that it is indeed a “liquid”. We also had to remove little Aaron’s Robeez going through security. These are soft leather shoes that are basically glorified socks, and the security lady seemed so apologetic when she informed me I had to remove them and send them through the machine. But, overall, the security hype proved quite manageable, even for our little circus!

Travel brings out interesting things in people. There were those who, as we began unloading at the security checkpoint, took one look at us and wisely chose the other lines. It is like that moment at the grocery when I take out the WIC checks: you can feel the eyes rolling behind you as people gather their things to go anywhere but behind you! Or there was the guy who passed by as we were unfolding the stroller for the gate check, juggling far too many babies and bags, and made some totally out there reference about how hard travel is now because we are becoming a communist state! Random.

Then there were those in line behind me at Starbucks (Mom, I ended up doing exactly what you recommended, but for a different reason–we didn’t have enough soy milk at home so I had to load up before getting on the plane) who gazed condescendingly at my infant-laden stroller while Mercy wiggled and squirmed to get a hold of a Wall Street Journal and some whole bean Gold Coast (mommy’s fave!) and basically anything else her hands could reach. People in line at Starbucks are often already impatient by nature (is it the addiction?) and I couldn’t help but feel like somehow my children were directly responsible for the distance between them and their sugar-free lattes.

Then there are those who stop everything they are doing to smile at the babies, to tell you that they just became a grandmother, to comment on how you and your son are both wearing orange shirts. They are usually older, these non-rusher, eyes-to-see types. And they are like a breath of fresh air for the weary parent traveler–they affirm, they delight, they talk and coo. They make you feel human.


  1. I sat in starbucks all summer and read for a couple hours about 5 days a week. It was “me” time away from my two jobs and family. It is a weird atmosphere, mostly yuppie’s and soccer moms, people are so fast paced. But when grandparents came in they usually sat down first, or played with a baby that was there and seemed uncomfortable with all the people in and out. Although most complained about the prices, they really were the most fun to interact with.

  2. Please, to those who read this, don’t find this statement as judgmental – this statement is obviously full of stereotype and there are many who break the rule.

    But I marvel at the difference between those who have raised children and those who haven’t. The former have learned to slow down and rejoice in the smaller things. Perhaps they had to as they raised 4 kids and ‘timelineness’ took on its own meaning. Or perhaps the transformation took place when their kids (maybe the first – maybe the last) left and in the absence their hearts grew fonder of the small joys in life. These people are such a pleasure to encounter in the day. They seem to come at just the right moment, validating the beauty of your children and the ‘chaos’ that seems to follow them is made so minute. They open their eyes wide and take in the beauty of these little lives instead of rolling their eyes and missing these small treasures. They reach out sometimes with a smile as if to say “you are welcome to be here with me – I am glad I met you” instead of turning their back, talking all the louder on their cell phone as if to drown out this inconvenience in front of them and to be certain that you can hear them complaining about the ‘obstacles of life’.

    I am glad my little girl pays such close attention to those who love her and pays so little attention (none, really) to the people whose lives are so ‘full’ of other junk that they can’t embrace the beauty of these small treasures – though they do seems to always find some reserve energy to scoff and grunt!

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