Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Traveling at the speed of kid

By Karrie McAllister

I realize it’s generally frowned upon to drag children through airports while mumbling profanities at your husband. But keep in mind that he is walking happily ahead of you, carrying only a backpack and you are weighed down with 2 carry-ons, a doll, and a kid on each hand.
Plus I’m pretty sure I was holding a coloring book in my mouth.
The reason for the hurriedness is that we weren’t comfortably early for the flight. But not late, either, mind you. So after leaving the ticket counter, the race began.
My husband walked like a normal person.
We barely slid along like a three-headed bag lady.
And after a few “hurry ups!” my calmness had gotten the best of me, and right there in the airport the gates of motherhood opened.
“Don’t tell us to hurry up. We’re SLOW. We’ve got junk galore to carry and they’ve got little legs and if we don’t get everything packed so they’ll be happy then I guarantee your trip will be even worse than this lecture in the middle of the security line!”
Or something like that—refer back to the profanities mentioned in the first sentence. Stress and airports do funny things to generally nice people.
Thankfully whatever I said must have worked, and after spending an eternity at the security gate taking off and putting on all of those little shoes (why oh why would I ever make them wear lace-up shoes on travel day?!?) we were again one big happy loaded down family, sitting helpless in the big airport while our children ran amok and flirted with strangers.
Alls well that ends well, but when you think about it, that little story can be translated to just about anything in a life with kids. Or at least my life.
Kids are slow. They have tiny legs, wandering imaginations, and all-purpose stubbornness when it comes to doing something they’ve been told to do. They stop, they fidget. They investigate beautiful art and strange looking people. They reach for things they shouldn’t and for the life of them can’t seem to walk in a straight line.
And this all takes time. My husband, being the working one of the family, has a job where he only talks to adults all day. It’s a fast-paced job, with emails and meetings and cell phones and paperwork. So it should come to no surprise that he is a rather fast-paced person. 71% of his days (that’s 5 of 7 days—I did the math) he’s at his job working as quickly as he can.
Likewise, 100% of my days (that’s EVERYDAY – no math required) I’m at home struggling to be as slow as my kids.
And I’m a little afraid to announce that I’m getting used to it.
I used to think there was some space-time continuum between the house and the car, because it seemed like no matter how fast we tried to get shoes on and buckled in carseats, it was a good ten minutes later by the time I actually put the car in Drive. But now I am all the more wiser and realize that time and space are doing just fine—we are instead traveling at the speed of kid.
With kids, I fully expect to spend twice the time it would take me by myself to do even the easiest tasks, like stopping at the post office or taking a walk down the street.
And someday, when my kids are all off in school, I might be able to pick up the pace a little. But until then, I’ll enjoy the chance to stop and stare at beautiful art and strange looking people yelling at their husbands in the airport.

2 comments:

Rachel Langston said...

There are so many things about this post that I love. Perhaps my favorite..."My husband walked like a normal person." As if the weighed down woman and children didn't belong to him or need his help!

Rachel Langston

Kristin said...

just this morning I realized I was yelling, "Erin LET'S FREAKING GO already!!!" as I was trying to leave.

She had it all figured out:

"You can just go ahead and put Leah in the car and come back for me."

Apparently I haven't slowed down enough yet.

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