It’s five p.m. Western Time. We’ve been traveling since 3:45 a.m. Western Time. We’ve been up an hour longer than that.

We were supposed to arrive in Seattle an hour and a half ago, but our flight from Nashville was delayed, so we missed our connecting flight, and the airline rerouted us through O’Hare, which I believe has the fewest on-time departures of any airport in the world. I could be wrong about that, but it felt true when we were sitting and sitting and sitting in the terminal for three hours.

But we’re in the air now, thank God, though we all wish we were in Seattle already instead of two hours away.

I’m not sure we’re going to make it two more hours.

We didn’t bring enough food, supposing as we did that we’d be home for dinner, not stuck in a metal tube 30,000 feet over Colorado, and everyone is hungry.

What food we did have when we got on the plane is covered in hummus: shortly after take-off, the container exploded in our food bag. I did my best to wipe the hummus off the NutriGrain Bars and the Cheerios bag, but you can only do so much cleaning with baby bibs, especially when the babies the bibs belong to are squirming in your lap. I try to pretend that my hummus-smeared cords are in fact the latest Parisian fashion. I call it hip-mama-meets-Greek-food flair.

Doug surveys the food bag and decides the hummus stuck to its insides isn’t edible. He springs for an airplane meal, but the kids aren’t that hungry, apparently. Can’t say I blame them.

Besides being hungry, we’re all wasted.

The babies are so exhausted they’re manic, in constant motion, crawling over Doug or me to get to the aisle, doing headers into the aisle, pushing themselves up and trying to run down the aisle, getting scooped up from the aisle and set in the middle of the row of seats between Doug and Jack or Jane and me. Again.

Rinse. Repeat. For four hours we rinse and repeat. Doug and I keep looking at each other with wide eyes. “Hey,” I say. “At least we don’t have to wear oxygen masks, right?”

He rolls his eyes. “Yeah, and at least the plane isn’t plunging toward the earth in flames, either.”

“Well,” I say as I scoop Ben up yet again, “if it did, at least the flight would be over.”

Ben stands up in my lap and bounces like the snake-in-a-can toy that Jack got for Christmas. On the other side of the aisle, Luke is attempting to crawl under Doug’s legs. This constant motion isn’t helping them get to sleep. It’s also annoying the woman sitting in front of me, who keeps heaving really loud sighs and flinging herself forward on her tray table whenever one of the babies so much as touches the back of her seat.

I’m trying to ignore her, to pretend that it’s not me and my babies she’s annoyed with. Trust me, I want to tell her, I want these babies to sleep even more than you do.

I’ve nursed Luke three times to try to get him to sleep, but he’s too wired. He nurses long enough to stop crying, then pops off and looks around and heads for the airplane aisle again.

Ben took one look at my proffered breast and made a disgusted face, like he was saying, what is that thing, lady, and why are you shoving it in my mouth? So much for that.

Jane is so tired she’s crying, and there’s nothing I can do for her. Doug and I each have a baby we’re trying to keep from climbing the seats and walls of the plane. We don’t have enough arms to rock Jane to sleep, too.

An hour before landing, she finally crashes out, her body flung across both her seat and Ben’s, her hair draping down to the floor where small circles of crushed Cheerios and smeared hummus attest to our family’s presence here.

A half hour before we’re supposed to land, someone finally, blessedly, turns off the overhead lights, and the babies relax enough to fall asleep – just in time for us to land and wake them up and haul them off the plane and drag them down to baggage claim and out into the bitter cold to wait for our friend Sprague to pick us up.

I bless him when he arrives in our minivan. I bless the sofamobile I have long vilified. I bless the darkness in the car and the hum of familiar roads under our tires, rocking the babies and Jane back to sleep.

When we get home I bless our house and our heater. I bless the Pagliacci guy – a father of twins himself – when he arrives at our door with hot pizza.

I bless hot water that pours over my tired achy body in the shower. I bless sleeping babies. I bless my own bed. My own pillow.

Sleep.

 

Linking today with L.L. Barkat at Seedlings in Stone
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