You know, the good ole days where people broke their backs lugging heavy suitcases around before some genius came up with the idea to put wheels on them? Hahahaha! Right. Those ones.
Hence, when I travel, I’m usually packing around a vintage samsonite (like one of these) or the monogrammed duffle bag I’ve had since I was a kid. Olive has one, too, now. It makes our time at the baggage claim look like a Wes Andersen movie (#LifeGoals).
I like to pretend that this affinity for old suitcases stems from practicality (They’re so well-made! I’m shopping secondhand! I’ll never get my black wheeled suitcase mixed up with the other twenty-nine black wheeled suitcases tumbling off the conveyor belt!) but don’t be fooled. It’s pure vanity.
Occasionally this vanity punishes me. Like last Tuesday. Here we go, a story for this Monday evening.
Olive and I were flying to Victoria to see my mom and my little sister, Mawney, and my sister-in-law, Leigh. Then we were going to traverse Vancouver Island, hop on a ferry and see the rest of my in-laws before returning to Alberta.
The flight to Victoria left at 9 AM, meaning we had to be at the airport at 8, meaning we had to be out the door at around 7:30, meaning we’d have to be awake, functioning and somewhat coherent at around 6:45.
Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about 6:45 AM. 6:45 is just a total asshole of a time. Nothing good ever happened at 6:45 AM. BUT! I did it. I woke up and got our shit together and caught the shuttle to the airport and checked in, all with a toddler who hates mornings almost as much as I do. But whereas I harbour a broad and indiscriminate hatred for all things early, she develops deep distress about the individual morning’s events.
This particular morning, the complaints were, in rough chronological order:
- Aunt Loulie wasn’t there when she woke up
- She wanted toast
- She wanted COLD toast
- Her toast was too cold
- I brushed her hair
- I put her hair in a ponytail
- I made her wear clothes
- Clothes and shoes. FUCK!
- The shuttle wasn’t there yet
- The shuttle was too tall
- The shuttle’s windows couldn’t be opened from the inside
- The shuttle driver said hi to her
- etc., you get the idea
We were not our best selves.
We had two separate flights, with a connection in Vancouver. The first flight went really well (except I was exhausted because I made the poor decision to stay up until 2 AM the night before. I am a fool. I readily acknowledge this) and THEN it was time to connect to the second flight.
We hustled off the plane and because I was exhausted, immediately headed to a coffee shop so I could caffeinate. The line up was looooong and as we shuffled further and further toward the front of the line I got more and more nervous, keeping an eye on the time. We only had twenty minutes to catch our next flight, but I couldn’t just leave the lineup! The caffeine! We were already halfway there!
Eventually, we reached the front and I ordered a large tea, and a fruit cup for Olive. Then after getting my drink we started hustlin’ toward the gate.
Have you ever hustled with a toddler? No. I can guarantee you haven’t, and here’s why: Hustling and toddlers do not mix. They are oil and water, Madeleine and mornings. NOT compatible.
So, Internets, picture this: In one arm I am balancing my giant diaper bag which has now transformed into my laptop/work/bookbag, Olive’s duffle suitcase, my tea, and Olive’s fruit cup. From the other hand hangs Olive, dragging her feet, occasionally spaghetti-legging her way completely down to the airport floor. I am wearing heeled ankle boots because of course I am (I always try to wear my most space-sucking footwear to save room in my suitcase) and I am struggling to carry all of this bullshit shit, and drag my toddler and not spill tea all over myself while also trying to hear the tinny, muffled airport announcements to see if our flight has left without us already.
I’m starting to sweat and I can’t even check what time it is because my phone is at the very bottom of my giant diaper/laptop/book bag and I don’t wear a watch because, honestly, does anyone wear a watch anymore?
I start stressing, panicking. We can not miss this flight. The thought of the logistics of finding a new one – the interminable airport wait, the cost – it all just started adding fuel to the fire. And right at that moment as my stress was peaking, we emerged into a long hallway, at the verrrry end of which was our gate. The end was in sight! My eyes narrowed and I honed in on that gate as the finish line. I told myself I just needed to get to the end of this concourse and then this would allll be over!
And then Olive, my dear Olive, chose that precise moment to decide that walking was bullshit and she simply wasn’t going to do it anymore. She let out a primal yell of “I SAID my legs are TIRED!” and sank to the floor, lying facedown. She wouldn’t move.
I stood there for a moment, my right arm feeling like it was going to fall off under the weight of all our shit, my left arm dangling empty where she had let go. I looked up at the gate, and down at my toddler.
I have no shame about what happened next. I tried bribing her with candy, movies, dinosaurs…nothing was working. I could see what looked like a thick crowd of people queuing around the airport gate. I imagine the plane boarding and leaving without us. BC suddenly seemed very, very far away.
At this point I think I mayyyy have muttered something unladylike under my breath, and then I felt something galvanize within me. I decided I was just going to have to get this shit done. I knelt down, scooped Olive up under my left arm, struggled to my feet, and started marching toward the gate.
Suitcase, tea, diaper/laptop/book bag, fruit cup in one hand. Thirty-five pound squirming toddler in the other. Sweat prickling the back of my neck. Idiot ankle boots completing the picture.
Olive was yelling and my face was burning and hot tea was sloshing to the floor as I marched, heels echoing across the floor, all the way down the concourse. Allllll the wayyyyy to the end.
And what do I find at the end? You know, don’t you? Deep in your bones?
Yes. Our flight was delayed. So, the entire concourse – which had just now watched me hauling ass while basically fireman-carrying my yelling kid while hissing “We. Have. To. Hurry!” between clenched teeth- now watched me get to the gate, sit down, and then leisurely sip my fucking tea for the next twenty minutes until our flight boarded.
Olive was great on the flight, but when we landed in Victoria she was so upset that it was my sister Mawney picking her up and not Nana, that she walked right past her without acknowledging her existence, and then went to lie facedown on a bench.
The word you’re looking for is “Threenager”. This is a thing. Please pray.
Olive Grace: Saying and doing what we all wish we could, since 2012. Never change.