(photo: the lad eating noodles in Changi airport, Singapore on the way to the UK)
Time and circumstance change one's perception of the same activity so much. A few years ago I considered long haul travel a real drag. The uncomfortable seats, the never ending nature of a night flight, counting down minutes from take off to landing, the lack of personal space when crammed hip to hip with someone for 13 hours whilst trying to doze or eat. I found the whole thing quite irritating and intrusive.
Last week I flew back to the UK for 2 weeks with my son and left the little twins here in NZ. Even before the flight I was excited at the prospect of spending 30 or so hours alone with the little chap. The experience lived up to my excitement. We chatted lots, held hands, read stories, watched TV, wrapped ourselves round each other to sleep, walked round the plane and looked out of the window at the clouds, tiny dots of light far below and cuddled and giggled together. I'll never forget either the journey to the UK or the one back for the golden opportunity to devote my full attention to one of my little chiddlers.
There have been a few flights between those taken as an impatient single gal and the last one with the lad. I have flown backwards and forwards to the UK quite a bit over the last four years. Here are the combinations and permutations...
me and husband
me, husband and 8 week old son
me, husband and 1 year old son
me 15 weeks pregnant with twins and 21 month old son
me 30 weeks pregnant with twins and nearly 2 year old son
me, 9 month old twins and 2 and a half year old son
me, husband, 10 month old twins and 2 and a half year old son
me and 3 and half year old son
Needless to say travelling with three small children was pretty ghastly. I won't bore you with a blow by blow account of those harrowing hours but there was plenty of vomit involved, oxygen had to be administered, emptying of nappies containing matter worse than nuclear waste and all with the four of us crammed into three seats towards the back of the plane.
At the end of the journey to the UK ten glorious days in England with my parents unfolded before the lad and I. We had such a wonderful time and I am eternally grateful to my aunt, husband and mother in law who all took it in turns to look after the little twins so that the lad and I could surprise my mother for her 60th birthday. How lucky we are to live in an age where long distance travel is possible.