Boarding Calls and Beasts of Burden

Husband holding baby while wife holding toddler gets a boarding pass at airport ticketing counter

"Let's take the boys to Georgia," my wife said out of the blue one day.

Now, I may be a simple, ordinary guy, but I know a bad idea when I hear one.

"You want to take a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old on an airplane?" I replied.

"We can't mail them in a box."

"Can't ... or won't?" I asked.

My wife looked at me the same way she did when I mowed H-E-L-P in the backyard after the birth of our second child.

"Yippy skippy!" I said to Jonathan, our older son. "We're flying to Georgia!"

"Yippy skippy!" he repeated.

Lugging our luggage

At the airport, I nicknamed myself "The Yak," since I carried everything but the plane. I lugged several bags crosswise by the shoulder straps, which placed pressure on both sides of my neck. Any medical doctor could tell you that stopping the blood flow both to and from the brain is ill-advised.

But we had a plane to catch.

"Daddy," said Jonathan, "why is your head purple?"

I swatted at a floating star. "Daddy can see through time," I whispered.

And security screening! Everything went on the X-ray conveyor belt: diaper bags, car seats, stroller, baby shoes.

"Kids, too?" I asked the guard.

"Hilarious," the security guard said. She wasn't smiling.

"Daddy wants to mail me in a box," said Jonathan, "but Mommy won't let him."

"Now that's funny," I blurted, ready to sprint if the guard touched her radio.

Preflight fright

We were the last family to board the plane. This, of course, gave me the amusing task of navigating a crowded aircraft with a pair of super-macho diaper bags slung across each shoulder. I tried to smile and apologize, but it was clear I'd not be making friends with people I'd just whacked in the shoulder with 15 pounds of Pampers.

"My daddy can see through time," Jonathan told each one.

When I clicked my son's seat belt, the engines revved, the plane began to move, and he got scared.

"We're OK," I said, putting my arm around him. "This is what planes are supposed to do."

"We're OK," he said. A few minutes later, he yawned, closed his eyes, and rested his head against my side.

That's when I realized his unquestioning acceptance of all I do and say. And I realized that while I may be just an ordinary guy, I am a dad, which means I'm a well-loved fear slayer of extraordinary influence.

This article first appeared in the March/April 2011 issue of Thriving Family magazine. If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. Get it delivered to your home by subscribing to it for a gift of any amount.

Copyright © 2011 by Joseph Schneller. Used by permission.

Next in this Series: Traveling With Young Kids

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