The Airport Confessions of a Recovering Super-Mom

Over the school break, my husband and I flew with our four young children from Virginia to Washington State to visit family. With four children under the age of 7, it’s likely not shocking that it had been several years since we last attempted the cross-country journey.

I wanted our family to be the exception when it came to traveling with small children. The children would use their manners, they would sit quietly, and above all they would not be kicking seat backs. I was determined that my offspring were going to remind business travelers world-wide that noise cancelling headphones could still be optional, and not a necessity.

In an effort to set my children up for success, I packed their go bags with great attention to detail from plush friends to electronic distractions. Once travel day had arrived, I was feeling confident.

Our journey had multiple legs, and with each preparation for landing announcement, I ran the children through a “do you have {insert item}” checklist. They would systematically nod their heads as we repacked their bags, and I would smile.

As we touched down at the last stop, we exited the plane and made our way to the restroom. I won’t lie….I could almost feel an imaginary super hero cape flapping in the breeze behind me. We were so pulling this off. Things were going perfectly.

My girls, our backpacks, and I all piled into a single standard bathroom stall. Quite suddenly…as if ricocheting off the walls of our all too tiny space… I let out a gasp!

I quickly rummaged through my bag, and rummaged again, but to my horror…..I could not find my iPad. After instructing each of my four children on the necessity of personal responsibility….who would be the one to misplace their electronic device on the trip…me. The irony here does not elude me!

I scooped up the girls, and we ran back to the gate. Let me rephrase that, because anyone who has had four children knows that I was definitely not running to anything. I walked briskly towards our gate with a determined stride, as the girls followed behind me like three little ducklings.

Before I had even reached the podium, I called out, ”I um…..I left my iPad on the plane.” The twenty-something attendant simply looked at me with a soulless expression that can only be achieved by someone from a generation of wi-fi and digital saturation.

I wanted to scream at her, “I used to own a Walkman woman!! Have you ever had to dislodge VHS ribbon from a VCR head? No?!!? For the love of God, IPADs are special! I need back on that plane!”

The thoughts rolling around in my head in that moment were starting to border on crazy. My inside voice was one outburst away from being escorted to a small room by airport security. So I controlled myself. I chose my spoken words carefully. I tried to locate my third eye, or whatever it is that calm yoga people do.

“Can I just go back on and look for it myself?” I ask as my right eye ever so slightly closed, and my jaw began to clench.

“No, you aren’t allowed back into the plane ma’am, but I can look for you,” the attendant replied.

I was not impressed with this option. This girl clearly had no clue who she was dealing with. She was standing toe-to-toe with an Olympic-level finder. I mean it….. I’m virtually one more solved mystery away from opening my own detective agency, because I’m that good at finding things.

Having four children, who “accidentally” misplace beloved stuffed animals, and declare this fact just as you are already ten minutes behind when you actually wanted to put them to bed; pretty much has transformed me into a human LoJack.

I obviously hadn’t hidden the device on the plane on purpose…. so surely she would see it there under the seat. I tried to think all the good thoughts. We were basically the last group off the plane, and our family filled an entire row. She was going to find it….she was going to find it…she was going to find it, I chanted.

Spoiler Alert: The woman returned from her scouting mission with no iPad.

Really?!? I wanted to ask her if she had even looked in the correct row. My inside voice again was highly skeptical the question could be posed in any way that did not sound insulting.

“Okay. Thanks for trying,” was all I could muster, as I let out a deep sigh.

In that moment my true feelings about humanity were suddenly revealed. I was quite certain one of my fellow passengers or perhaps the clean-up crew had gifted themselves my iPad.

If I’m being completely honest, I think I was mostly disappointed the otherwise seamless nature of this trip has been blemished…by me of all people. I had officially lost both an iPad, and my ability to rave about the ease and glitch-free nature of traveling with four young children. I don’t know it you realize this but thats the motherhood equivalent of not getting a mom merit badge. “Successful air porting while outnumbered” its kind of a big deal.

I somberly took a moment of silence by Gate B13. There was no point in dwelling on the matter any further.

It would have been a tiny bit easier to move on from the whole ordeal if my son didn’t insist on asking me every 28 feet if I was sad that I had forgotten my iPad on the plane.

“Son, yes I’m disappointed. I wanted everything to go perfectly….and this oversight on my part has really torn a hole in my imaginary super hero cape.” I snapped.

“Well, you might not be a super hero mom, but I think you are a pretty great actual mom….if that counts for anything,” he responded.

In a world filled with opinion-givers……his was everything. All too often we allow others the power to define us. In truth, we are more than a single moment….we are the sum of many parts. What if motherhood was not about striving for perfection, but instead thought of as perseverance wrapped in love?

Motherhood lived in technicolor reminds me to look for the good things in each day….and that sometimes the best lessons might even be located on our way to the lost and found.

P.S. I am thrilled to report that three weeks later, I received a very unexpected phone call from the Lost and Found department in Texas. They had recovered my iPad, and simply needed an address to mail it back to me. I don’t mind saying my faith in humanity was not only restored, but I did a physical heal click after hanging up the phone. As a nearly 6 foot tall woman, that is something to see…trust me.

Author’s Note: Let me tell you a little social media secret; Facebook doesn’t put every story I post into your news feed. The only way to never miss one of my stories is to add your email to my Motherhood in Technicolor distribution list. Its easy and how many things are really easy….just click on this link, and then enter your name and email on the page. Done. The next time I post a story to my blog page a copy of the story will be sent to your email. There’s also a 83% chance that seeing an email from me in your inbox will totally be a day brightener… what are you waiting for? 🙂

Author: Summer Smith

Summer Smith is a speaker, writer, and motherhood blogger. She and her family are currently navigating the suburbs of Northern Virginia. As the mother to four young children, Summer maintains her sanity thanks to her sense of humor, copious amounts of coffee, and Amazon Prime. Maya Angelou once said, when reflecting on her childhood, that her mother left an impression like technicolor stars in the midnight sky. Influenced by these words, Summer blogs at her website Motherhood in Technicolor, and can also be found on her Motherhood in Technicolor Facebook page.