office expressions.

musings from my experience at the home/office.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Traveling Mercies

During our Christmas vacation which traversed approximately four thousand miles in eleven days, I often thought of the phrase "traveling mercies". After a few google searches, this is the closest thing I found as far as a definition:

"Christians often wish people "travel mercies" when they are about to go on a trip. This expression appears to be rooted in the Southern Baptist tradition, and conveys "May God's mercy be with you and protect you from the inconveniences/difficulties/dangers associated with traveling." It is especially meaningful to hear when one is traveling for sad/stressful reasons or into danger, when "Have a good trip!", with its implication of enjoyment, just doesn't seem appropriate."

Especially as I prepared for the leg of our trip from Minnesota to New Jersey/Pennsylvania without Jake, I began to ask God for the kindness of strangers. Flying solo with a busy 7 month old and a few heavy suite cases isn't necessarily what I would call relaxing. I decided that no matter what happened during the hours in the air, I would focus my thoughts on the incredible feeling of touching down at our destination, knowing that loved ones were only a few minutes away.

I have to say, we did experience many travel mercies and the kindness of strangers. One woman in Philadelphia saw me jugging two shoulder bags, a stroller, and our little babe, and offered to walk with me to my gate. I was totally taken by surprise, as I thanked her and told her we were heading in the opposite direction from her. Every single flight attendent we met did what they could to chat with me, allowed me to walk the aisle of the plane to put our little babe to sleep for at least an hour en route to Philadelphia, and on our way home moved us to a row with an open seat so that we could spread out a little. (Genius thought of the day: Airlines should create a family friendly flight or section of the plane where families can let kids play on the floor, cry it out, and change diapers in a slightly larger bathroom).

There were many times when it was impossible to not feel self-conscious about bringing my babe on the plane. Some passengers openly glared at me, as if I was carrying a bomb onto the plane. Others scowled or commented loudly when they saw the proximity of their seat to "THAT BABY". I'm sure nursing her on the plane made some uncomfortable. Surprisingly, it was the younger kids who provided the most entertainment for our smiley babe, who currently believes that everyone in the world should smile back when she flashes her gummy grin. Many 'grandparent types' felt the need to tell Hazel what a good job she had done as we were exiting the plane.

All in all, we did it. We might have made a few enemies along the way (sorry to the college boy who our babe blew a very spitty 'raspberry' at...although I had to laugh a little to myself at that one!). But we had incredible quality time with loved ones across the country and learned that while sometimes you might feel like you are carrying a bomb on a plane...other times you might feel like Super Mom after a 5 and 1/2 hour plane ride, and gettings 60 lbs. of luggage off the baggage claim by yourself, all while pushing your babe in a stroller. We did it, and it is SO good to be home.
Now here's a way to fly!

1 comment:

  1. It's no easy fete to travel with kids - on a plane, in a bus, car, or on a ship. You young parents are really brave, and I admire you. Back in the day when I flew with one of my kids, we had no car seats (not required then - and probably very dangerous!). Our flight was only an hour long (Chicago/Minneapolis).

    My daughter-in-law, Rachel, left Japan with two kids, strollers, car seats, luggage, and a trans-oceanic flight; faced the immigration officials which grace while they insisted screaming Josiah (2 years old) give up his favorite blanket so they could run it through x-ray, all the while managing 6 month old Annika. My daughter, Heidi, has done similar flights with Marshall. All of you deserve a medal! May strangers (including me) become better assistants to help those who are traveling alone with youngsters. It's tough enough being a young parent. Sorry this got long, Jill, but kudos to you for braving these flights alone. I'm proud of you!