Last week I returned from a much-needed vacation. The vacation itself was fabulous. The traveling with kids was not.
The flight to my parents’ house was relatively painless, mainly because my frustration toward my children’s antics was overshadowed by my excitement to reach my destination and hand those little balls of energy over to their grandparents. It was the return flight that unnerved me. Actually, we weren’t even on the plane yet when I faced my biggest challenge.
We had to ride a tram to our terminal, and when the doors opened and I saw the mile-long line at security I tried not to groan. I typically don’t mind waiting in lines if I’m alone. But I had 2 kids and no husband. Lines are not friendly to outnumbered single moms.
The next 30 minutes were torture, but I’m grateful for the kind strangers who helped to contain my 2-year-old daughter each time she attempted to escape. Little C was rolling on the floor and barking like a dog when she suddenly stood and announced, “I have to go potty.”
I panicked. I had a small window of time to get her to a bathroom. I didn’t pack a change of clothes in my carry-on. I had already waited a half an hour, and I knew if I left my place in line and waited all over again, I’d miss my flight. What in the world was I supposed to do?
I begged Little C to hold it. But as I weighed the size of a 2-year-old’s bladder against our proximity to the other side of security, I knew that was way too much to ask. I spotted an airline employee and asked where the nearest restroom was. “You either have to take the tram back or pass through security. Sorry, no restrooms in this area.” Are you kidding me?!
When Little C started crying and doing the pee pee dance in earnest, I knew I was in serious trouble. Thankfully, those kind strangers who acted as a human barricade started encouraging me to push my way through the line. I’m not a pushy person, but this was an emergency.
“Excuse me. Pardon me. Potty emergency.” Those magical words carried me like a wave to the ID checkpoint as sympathetic strangers parted to let the crazy lady with her screaming child by. I shoved my boarding passes at the man who took his sweet time letting me through to the area where we had to remove our shoes and stack our possessions in bins. When I explained my urgency, all I got was: “Sorry ma’am, I don’t have the authority to put you to the front of the line.” I was practically begging for help, and my cheerleaders behind me were yelling at the man to let me cut to the front. As he shook his head and insisted he couldn’t help me, I finally allowed my inner b-i-t-c-h to surface. “Could you at least give me a cup? Because in a minute you’re going to have a puddle of urine at your feet.”
By then Little C couldn’t even walk, so I picked her up, fully expecting to feel the warmth of liquid soaking my shirt. I was removing my shoes when another airport employee grabbed my bins and escorted me directly to the metal detector. I guess unlike his cohort, he did have the authority to move me to the front of the line.
I must have been quite a sight sprinting to the bathroom as I carried Little C while Big C trailed behind with his roller bag. Thankfully, that 2-year-old bladder held on just long enough for me to drop her drawers. And the other women in the restroom were so distracted by my hysteria that they didn’t seem to notice that I had brought a curious 6-year-old boy into the ladies’ room. (But that’s a whole other issue for another post.)
So what would you have done? Would you have taken the tram back and risked missing your flight? Or would you have pushed your way through the line to get past security?