Two moms navigate an airport with their small children.
The first mom stands in line at Pot Belly, her shirt moves slightly as she raises her arm revealing a small sweat stain. She's sweating. The boy, around four, begins to walk away from her as she orders food. She calls after, "Son, remember the 10 foot rule." The boy doesn't slow, doesn't turn around, but instead picks up his pace, and only turns his head slightly with his eyebrows raised as he turns a corner to head out of her sight. She's holding a younger child in one of those contraptions you have attached to your body. The toddler looks happy, until the boy heads out of sight, then she begins to let out loud shrieks, "Brodder! Brodder!" She's smacking the mom's face and begins to pull her hair.
The frazzled mom, pauses, then hurries after the boy. "I said, STOP! Turn around now, our food is waiting and we need to pay." She mutters under her breath, "I'm hungry." The boy begins to run away. The airport is mostly desserted, so there are not people at any of the gates he is running towards. The woman seems to survey for open doors and stays where she is before moving briskly towards him. "Stop now! Or you will your favorite airplane." The boy comes back, hands her the plane and runs away again. "Stop now. We need to stick together or we are not getting on this plane. I'll cancel our trip. I'm serious. This is my serious voice." The little boy smiles. The toddler attached to the mom bellows, "Out, please! Now!!!!"
The mom tries to convince the boy to come with her. He's running, the toddler is getting louder and louder. The mom can't seem to calm or control anyone. Her voice is louder, but it's not effective. People around her wonder if she ever has control of the situation. An older woman quips, "They let anyone be parents these days." Construction workers in the area roll their eyes. And two young business women survey her "mom jeans" and mismatched socks as she reaches for her phone. "That's it, I'm calling American Airlines and canceling the trip. If we cannot be a team at the airport there is no one I am going to be trapped on a plane..." The little boy comes back, smiling, looking like Ashton Kutcher as he used to run out on Punk'd to tell people everything was just a joke. "Okay, okay, Mom. I'm here." He stands by her side and she breathes out. She had no idea what she was going to do if she made it all the way to calling the airline. She tries not to make eye contact with the other airport patrons who are watching her children and her like there are some sort of exhibit at the National Zoo.
The other mom breezes through security with her two young children. She's wearing the young girl attached to her and kisses the toddler's head as they wait patiently for TSA to swab the mom's hands. She smiles, holds out her hands and the agent asks, "How did you know we'd test your hands?" She quickly responds, "You always test moms wearing babies." The agents laugh. The young boy walks a few feet away. "Excuse me, sir, remember our team sticks together. What's the rule?" The little boy smiles and runs back to his mom. "At the zoo, it's never get out of mommy's sight. Is the airport the same?" The agents comment on how great the kids are and how together the mom is and send her on her way.
The kids are singing an alphabet song and laughing. As they walk together, the mom and kids are making the sounds of each letter. The mom suggests a game. "Let's play number scavenger hunt at the airport!" The little girl in the Ergo yells, "Yeah!" as her brother beams, "What numbers?"
The mom cheerily calls out, "C14!" The little girl asks to get down. "Out, please!" The mom lets her down and the two children hold hands and run together to C14. The mom happily follows. "Great, now, how about C6?" The little girl asks to get in the stroller and her brother pushes her. The game lasts a while then the small family heads to the bathroom. There the mom begins asking what each child's favorite letter is as she changes the toddler's diaper with ease, and the three of them sing out words beginning with each child's favorite letter. "D is for daddy and dandelion and daisy and doggie!" Each of them smiles, two older women come out of the bathroom, watch, remembering raising their own young children and compliment the mom on her parenting and the children on their exceptional behavior for small children. They went as far as to suggest she get the nobel peace prize for parenting.
Each of these moms is me. All of those children are mine. At any given moment, you may meet any combination of us. Being a mom is amazing and messy. Often, simultaneously.