I have been home from Australia exactly one week. It has, sadly, taken me the one week to get a grip on the jet lag thing, coping from time changes from Queensland to Kansas. I KNOW this song and dance from travels past, but for some reason I never accurately estimate the time it is going to take my mind and body to compensate for hours in the plane, on the ground, NOT in bed, all the airplane food and lack of liquid intake therein (I know, I know! Drink water! Drink water! I do!! I do!!)
For some reason, the flight to Australia is, for me, very difficult and uncomfortable. Once I am on terra firma, I take a day or two to acclimatize. Coming home to the U.S.A. is an easy flight for me (is this mental??), but coping with the time zones and all seem to throw me for a loop, and this trip was no different.
Looking back over the years of this travel to visit the inlaws, I see some pretty remarkable trips. I think I should have earned some sort of Koala Nobel Prize for a couple or three of them. Starting, (I have mentioned this in an earlier post), I traveled first from Egypt to Oklahoma, and then straight to Queensland to meet my newlywed husband's parents and brothers and their wives for the first time, six months AFTER our wedding. I was young, SOoo sleep-deprived, and had no idea what to expect upon arrival from our two-hour drive from the Brisbane airport to my inlaws' farm. My mother-in-law had made a marvelous roast beef dinner, part of which I enjoyed before I excused myself in order to go thankfully to bed for many hours. Ughhhh. What a way to win over new inlaws? (They were and are wonderful.)
The next trip saw us toting two toddlers down the airplane aisles along with us, from Michigan to LAX, to Sydney, to Brisbane, and then to the farm, a two hour-drive away.. Our two daughters were terrific travelers and most of the trip was uneventful - but for the morning sickness I was experiencing with the pregnancy of our third child. This was a tired, tired trip for me, and one that surprisingly presented the "NO FRIED FOODS" into my second trimester life. Ugh. And, not to mention, the first time either of my children had thrown up/pewked. I was in bad disarray with this, in that I was reeling from my own morning sickness at the time. Double Ugh.
Another visit saw us with two elementary school daughters, and a nursery school son. Six weeks in Australia. Pretty smooth sailing. That Spouse o' mine left for the U.S a couple of weeks before us. My plan was to head back with our three kids, with stops in Honolulu and LA, to acclimate the kids before school started in September. Well. Can we say EXHAUSTION? JETLAG? NUMBNESS?
To this day I credit the kids and God for taking care of our trip home. I was numb. We four frolicked on the Waikiki Beach, we climbed Diamond Head. We WOULD have gone to Pearl Harbor, but the youngest in our group, Graham, was only four and not tall enough to go on board. From Honolulu, we flew to LAX for a night. This, to "gently" bring us back to life in the U.S.
Well, LA is the place that rings so loudly in my mind's ear. LA was where this mother had discerned that she had reached her jetlag/parenting valley. I was so tired. So, so tired. I explained to my kids, ages 4, 7 and 8, that I was going to sleep and that they should NOT, under any circumstances, open the hotel door or go outside. NO CIRCUMSTANCES.
I hit the sack.
The next morning, we all were safe, all three kids were hail and hearty. I had a very small spring in my step; life was going to be good, all the way home. Jiggety-jig.
But wait: my four year old son had a very pronounced, round bruise on his forehead.
WHAT THE HECK?????
Well. The story came down that Graham had a Batman (or something) figure that had a suction cup on the end. While I slept/was comatose, big sister Gillian mischievously told him to stick it on his forehead, and so he did. For the night. Well, a night's worth of suction = a mighty grand forehead hickey. He looked like a very devout 4-year old Moslem. Sheesh. I just went with it. Whatever. I was toast.
And so, with those three trips, I gained a real respect for anyone - anyone at all, who might be traveling anywhere. One never knows WHAT the other traveler is experiencing. Morning sickness? A pewking kid? Bruises which look really, really suspicious? And how about a mother who falls asleep just on the take-off roll? What about her???
Case closed. Everyone, every traveling family has a deep, dark, and funny story. Smile and be helpful to each and every passenger you meet. It might be me...