Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Flight Suggestions


We’re flying to Utah for the holidays. In preparation for flying with fifteen-month old twins, I have developed a massive case of anxiety & a few theories about how air travel might be improved.

You probably know that kids under 2 can fly in your lap. This saves you the cost of paying for a seat they will refuse to sit in & earns you the disdain of your fellow passengers. (Except the old lady that reeks of cigarette smoke & coughs like the she has the plague. She wants to kiss your baby, probably on the mouth.)

You may not be aware that the airlines only allow one lap infant per row – nod knowingly with me, twin parents. So, Craig & I will be sitting across the aisle from each other, each with a kid in our lap, on most of our flights. For one flight, we could only get two aisle seats in sequential rows. Which means the kid in the row further back can torture both parents simultaneously by kicking the seat in front of her. Perfect.

Anyway, this brings me to my first suggestion. The airlines have to keep track of which seats have lap infants because they cannot have two in one row. The airlines also keep track of which seats have been purchased. I propose that airlines indicate which seats, if any, will have lap infants during the seat selection process of purchasing tickets. Let’s be honest – nobody wants to sit next to the parent with the lap infant. You can be a perfectly nice human being and still not enjoy the prospect of being squished up next to a baby, doing normal baby things like crying & pooping, for HOURS. I expect to hate it & they’re my kids.

I’m willing to bet some people would look at different flights rather than sit next to a baby. At the very least, forewarned is forearmed. If I knew I was going to be seated next to a lap infant, I’d bring noise-canceling headphones, sleeping pills, and a $5 pashmina from a street vendor that I could throw away if, let’s be honest – when, it ends up covered in baby excretions.

My second suggestion is to help counter that anxiety I mentioned. Imagine: the moment you confirm that you are flying with children your itinerary gets forwarded to your primary care physician who writes you a prescription for the anti-anxiety medication of your choosing. Brilliant, right? Then you might be able to figure out how to pack extra clothes, toys, food, diapers, bottles, and the all-important Benadryl into your carry-on luggage, without innumerable panic attacks. Maybe. As long as you stop picturing your child having a complete meltdown mid-flight because you packed the wrong color pacifier, while the asshat two seats over loudly expresses that HER kid wouldn’t dare act like that.

Speaking of that lady, my final suggestion grew out of a desire to ingratiate myself to her, as well as the other hypothetical passengers I keep imagining. I thought it would be a nice gesture to buy them all a drink. Then I remembered that the cost of airline tickets during the holidays ate all my money. So, I propose that the airlines offer a complimentary alcoholic beverage to any adult passengers seated within two rows of a lap infant. On any flight with more than two lap infants, ALL adult passengers should be given a free alcoholic beverage – except those within one row of the lap infants – THOSE poor sods should get two free drinks, minimum.


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Forgive Me

When you died people said,
“It’s okay to cry.”                         [no shit]
“It’s part of God’s plan.”             [fuck your god]

Nobody told me I would wake up one day
and forget to cry.

That day was today.

I’m sorry, Love.

Finding Light in the Dark Season

As a child, I used to listen to Christmas music and bawl. Good King Wencesles could reduce me to tears in ten seconds. The Little Matchgirl took five seconds, if that. There’s something about the winter that makes the tears flow more easily. I suppose it could be seasonal affective disorder, but that feels disingenuous to me.* 

Winter is a time of hibernation, of dying, of darkness. Maybe I do just crave some extra Vitamin D, but it feels like these emotions are natural for me. They feel as natural as the calm sense of reassurance that floods through me when I bask in the sun. Denying the dark emotions is to deny half of myself. The longest day of the year must be countered by the longest night and so it is within me as well.

That the cycles of my emotions might follow the cycles of the seasons seems as it should be. It is my understanding that most Christian religions believe Jesus was actually born in the spring, but celebrating his birth during the winter feels more necessary. Yes, there’s the whole "celebrate around the time of the pagan holidays" thing, but I think – no I feel (it’s the winter, I feel things instead of thinking them these days) – I feel that there might be more. 

The celebration of the lights that is Hannukah, the return of the sun marked by Yule, the birth of the Son on Christmas – here we are, as human beings, in need a reminder that it will get better, that the light will return to us. We will feel the warmth again.

I used to make candles on the autumnal equinox and burn them all night on winter solstice.

Between the cost of traveling to see family, gift giving, and having to turn on the oil heat – winter is definitely a time of scarcity. I reach for the light, for the warmth, for the promise of fecundity. For the past two years, I have been able to find that promise within my home. 

The fertility treatments that brought us our twins were done in the winter. I love this fact. I now have new dates to celebrate in the winter. We transferred the embryos on 12/12/12. I found out I was pregnant the day after Christmas. What more promise do I need, that we will find the sun again and life will grow out of the darkness than the laughter of my children? My beautiful, improbable but not impossible children, who began to grow in the darkness of winter. In the dark midwinter, they are my light. 

Although a spice-scented candle & a glass of mulled wine certainly wouldn’t go amiss.

*I am not discounting the existence of Seasonal Affective Disorder, nor meaning to imply that it is something people should just suffer through. I only mean that I do not believe it is an appropriate diagnosis for myself.