I don’t often fly with my kids. When I travel, I’m most frequently boarding an airplane for work so that I can visit a client in another city.
But there’s something about being at the airport and watching those exhausted, stressed and strung-out parents with one or more freaking out children in tow that makes me—somehow—wish that I were experiencing my currently uneventful and comparatively stress-free travel with my own two sons.
Typically, any travel experiences with my kids culminates in the convincing decision that I will never, ever, travel with my boys again.
Then, when I’m back to again traveling solo, I find myself looking at these wrecked parent-child units and yearning for the chaotic, sometimes frustrating presence of my own offspring.
There’s probably a broader observation to make about parenting here. How before kids my mood could be altered by some (admittedly) trivial inconvenience whereas now the energy available for self-flagellation is no longer accessible because I’ve already spent that energy parenting.
Having children is a constant pull and push that singes the emotional receptors of your being every day until you collapse in bed at night exhausted, fulfilled and regretful. It’s the regret that is, for me, the most pervasive of parenting-hangover emotions. Regret that I didn’t get more time with them, regret that I didn’t appreciate their attention while I had it, regret that I didn’t do better.