I’m on the plane coming home from Georgia. It’s headed home, from a layover in Dallas. Crowded and hot, everyone is tired. It seems to be a popular flight for children.
The mom behind me already looks worn out. Her child begins to scream uncontrollably as soon as the plane starts to move. In between screams I hear her explain to the man sitting next to her that on the previous flight from North Carolina, her child also fell apart. I feel sorry for her, but am unable to do much with Bella on my lap and her directly behind me.
My seat is kicked and punched repeatedly as I hope no one gets rude with her. She’s doing the best she can with everything to distract and soothe her 13 month old daughter. Everyone just looks sympathetic.
A flight attendant offers to walk the child for a while, and I can hear the complete relief in the mother’s voice as she thanks her over and over. The little girl instantly is all smiles as she is paraded up and down the aisle. I finally am able to turn and talk with her a little. An Army wife, early 20’s. She’s spending the summer with her mother. This is her first time flying with her daughter.
When the flight begins it’s descent, the attendant hands back the baby and the screaming begins again. I hear the girl say, “It’s ok, oh, it’s really ok, how about this? No, ok, this? No, wait, this?”
Realizing distraction might work, I pull out the nearest toy I have. A small stuffed bear from the PX (store) on Ft. Gordon that Daddy bought for Bella. He let her pick whatever she wanted and the moment she saw that bear she fell in love. It has an Army dogtag around it’s neck and she proudly says, “Dada” every time she sees it.
Handing it back behind my head, I say, “Maybe this will work? Something new?” And lo and behold, it does. She quiets down and I don’t hear another peep. As we land, the mom flings the bear over the seat, stands to leave and practically bolts off the plane, barely glancing at me. I stuff the bear in my backpack and wonder if she thought I was implying we were tired of hearing her child yell?
At the baggage claim, once again she sees me and moves further away. I am completely confused but leave her alone.
Grabbing our bags, I walk past her and say, “Have a great trip!” She glances up surprised and mumbles something I can’t hear.
Once in the car, I pull out the Army bear to give to Bella for the ride home. She stares at it and then points, “Meh!”
It’s entire face is covered in wet slobber and ripped off with stuffing hanging out the sides. I give her a book instead, and take it home to try to mend it. I can’t sew, so I simply tuck the stuffing in and super glue the muzzle back on to the head.
That’s right, super glue. Thisclose to being like sewing only – so far away.
Next time I’m handing back a Tonka truck.