travel day, marathon day. same thing.
Our travel day lasted a full 24 hours and it started at 6:30 in the morning. We had to pick up, then load up our super van. Drive four hours from Casey to O’Hare, then fly 8 hours through the night and take a one hour taxi ride to the London house. Add in all of the waiting in lines, the stops to pee, and checking people and luggage in and out of everywhere.
We load up the van at my parents’ house in the morning, and they are seeing us off.
Rich says with a shrug: “Well, we’re going to London now.”
Rich was in love with our super van. He was like a happy little boy. Him as we’re driving: “We’re definitely getting one of these when we come back! It’s so big, and comfortable! We can fit MORE kids. It’s so awesome!”
Quick tid-bit – Something I like to do when we’re going anywhere with a massive crowd – I put the boys in neon. That way, they’re easy to spot!
We stop to pick up our life-saver father in law, and then stop for lunch. Then head to the airport get all the people and all the luggage checked in. Rich returns the van, we go through security without any trouble and wait to board the plane.
It’s on time.
Good, good, good.
Check, check, check.
Nothing disastrous has happened yet.
We’re doing it.
Ok… so….slight digression – Since having Viv, we get stares almost everywhere we go. Having three kids is still normal by today’s standards, but when you have four kids it’s very confusing for people. So, ok, whatever. We’re used to the stares. And I was prepared. Smile, I told myself. Smile. Because I’m sure the type of stares that we’re going to get when we take this circus on the plane is going to require a special type of shield. The smile shall be my shield.
And I needed it.
Nobody was happy to see us.
We were those people.
I take that back – there was ONE nice woman, about two seats back. She complimented us on our family and told us how great the kids did. But, that was it. Theo did cry. We knew he would. He cried because he didn’t want to be in his seat. Like, duh. We knew that would come. The stares intensified for the forty five minutes of his problem. It has hard, but then it was over.
The big boys did incredible. They were just SO thrilled about everything. And they weren’t scared or whiny or nauseas or having trouble with their ear pain! They loved being at the airport. They loved finding their seat on the plane. They loved getting to put on the headphones and pick out a movie. They couldn’t wait to eat the food. They couldn’t WAIT to turn their seats into a bed. And when it was time, they did their best to go to sleep without complaint. The airline had given everyone noise-cancelling headphones. So, naturally Finn sticks them on his head and yells at the top of his lungs with a huge smile “MOM! THESE ARE REALLY COOL!! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” Neither one of them could master pulling one side of the headphones off before trying to talk, so this yelling took place sporadically throughout the flight. Even though Rich and I were very tired, we still laughed every time.
As we took off, the overwhelming thought in my mind was:
We can’t undo this now. Like… this is it. SERIOUSLY the point of no return. We’re flying over. We can’t go home. We cannot go back home…”
My thoughts required a few deep breaths, and more than a few glances at my beautiful happy children.
When we arrived in London it was 9 in the morning, or about 3 in the morning Illinois time. The boys did the best they could on the flight, but none of them slept more than a couple hours. Viv, who usually loves her bassinet, only wanted to sleep on my chest. So, her and I both also only got a few sporadic hours of rest.
We land. We de-plane. We wait on the stroller to be brought up gate side. We go through customs. We head to baggage claim and I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We took so long doing all of that other stuff, that when we got to the baggage carousel, no one was there and our bags were the only ones going around. On the plus side, that made our bags super easy to find! Our heaviest, most valuable tub had fallen over and spilled open on the carousel. When Rich caught sight of it, he dropped his bags and ran. It was all of his precious wires and things-with-buttons he loves so much. Thankfully nothing got broken or stolen. We hired ‘porters’ to help us get all of our STUFF to the cars and the cars took us to the house.
Rich took one car with Harry and Finn, while I rode in another car with Papa, Theo and Viv. The littles fell asleep while Papa and I took in the sights of our new home.
We pull up to the house and there was a lovely young English man waiting to show us inside.
We made it.
We made IT.
The kids. The luggage. All in one piece.
We kept track of all of our luggage AND all of our kids. We made it through customs. We were able to fit into the airport taxi cars. The drivers WAITED for us even though we were late. The agent WAITED for us at the house even though we were late.
We did it!
We MADE IT.
Thank the good Lord.