The very first flight we took with our son was when he was only a few weeks old. We were heading to a wedding in Los Angeles.
Those who know us know all too well it was only fitting our son would be on a cross-country flight before turning one month old. We were new dads but as all parents know, it’s a learn-on-the-job type gig. Spend twenty-four seven with anyone and you tend to figure them out quite well.
As we sat at our gate at Logan Airport I watched as two women across the way chatted and pointed at us. I hadn’t really thought about comments or stares. We were flying from Boston to Los Angeles after all, two fairly progressive cities.
After a few moments one of the ladies came over, took my hand, which at the moment was burping my child, moved it down and said, “No, you burp here.”
I just looked at her. Did she really just do that?
First off, it’s strange when anyone I don’t know touches me but even after just two short weeks of burping our child every two to three hours, we quickly figured out the “right spot.”
I moved my hand back, he burped, and I just simply smiled, hoping she would walk away. Instead she asked, “So, where is his mother?”
I honestly don’t remember how I responded. Does she go up to single mothers she sees and asks where the father is? It was at that moment I realized that no matter where we are or where we’re traveling, we stick out.
This didn’t and hasn’t stopped us from traveling, of course. Our son has now been on roughly thirty flights in his twenty-seven months on this earth. He even has his own frequent flier card.
It was right before his second birthday, our last “free flight” as he was still a baby and we were heading from Los Angeles to Louisville, Kentucky to visit some of our dearest friends. As we sat on the flight from Las Vegas to Louisville I immediately felt the stares. If a woman in Boston has the gall to ask me about my child, what would they say in Kentucky? I braced myself.
In the middle of the flight I got up to use the restroom and the flight attendants were all in the back catching up on the latest news and life updates. As I approached they all smiled and said, “We are all sitting back here talking about you guys. You guys are just such a cute family!” It made me smile.
As we landed in Louisville the family in front of us turned around and welcomed us to Kentucky. They told us everything we should do, see and eat during our stay and asked us all about our son. Their conversation was genuine and again I smiled.
Today we’re headed home for Thanksgiving, on our way to Kansas City. Walking through the airport, a now-familiar family routine, I know we still stick out. We may not look like the other families returning home from their Disney World vacations but we aren’t so different. We are just like them: proud parents taking a trip to Grandma’s house with our beautiful son. As we board the plane our son shouts out, “Here we go!” Everyone, buckled in their seats, joins in, “Here we go!” Our little guy starts to laugh. I smile bigger than I ever have.
, Growing Up Hayden
, Hayden's List
, Scott Tayloe