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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

I thought I was well prepared, and had a solid plan to get my 3 kids through the airport. My 11 year old boy had done this before, but for the two girls, 7 and 5, it was the first time. We were halfway through the security line, when I heard those familiar words.

“Mommy, I gotta pee.”

Up to that moment, things had been fine. I had thought everything out ahead of time. We would stay together, all holding hands. I had told the two girls what to expect in the airport – I said it would be like Six Flags, only people wouldn’t be as happy. There would be a lot of people going in a lot of directions, so it was important to stay with Mommy.

I had allowed plenty of time – so we could sit down and rest if the kids got tired. We made it through the luggage line just fine. That was just standing, and we were inside the ropes, so it didn’t feel overwhelming. After that, we had to go up an escalator, and the girls thought that was a lot of fun. So far, we were doing great. We stepped into the security line, which I had told the children about. I knew the tension of that process would be noticeable, so I had explained what they would see.

Then the youngest had to go to the bathroom. Of course. I couldn’t take my boy into the women’s bathroom, and I didn’t want to leave two kids alone while I went in with my youngest. We stepped out of the security line. I found an airport security guard, and asked if he would be willing to stand with two of my kids while I took one to the restroom. He smiled like he had seen this many times, and agreed. Now the other girl needed to go as well, so my son stood with the security guard while I took the girls to the restroom. I felt a real sense of accomplishment when we all met up again outside. I thanked the guard, and we got back into the security line.

As our turn got near, I reminded them of our plan. My son would go through the metal detector first, with my older girl right behind him. My other daughter was young enough that I could carry her – I had checked with security personnel to confirm that. We stepped up and my son went through the metal detector. Then my daughter. The youngest had her face buried in my chest as we walked through, which was good, because she didn’t get scared by the serious looking people standing around watching. I was feeling great at this point.

My son picked up my carry-on bag, as we all held hands and walked calmly down the concourse toward our boarding area. The kids looked a little tired, and there was an empty lounge area to our right, where no flights were leaving. We walked in and sat down. I looked at my watch – we still had plenty of time to spare.

“Mommy, I’m thirsty.”

I didn’t want to go inside a shop and find food or drinks, so I had packed juice boxes. I passed one out to each of the kids, hoping we could make the airplane before someone had to go again. I took a mental check of myself. Airports always make me a little nervous anyway, and with three children it felt like a jungle safari. Who knew what else might happen, but so far, I was feeling pretty good. After a few minutes, the kids looked much more settled and rested, so we got up and continued walking.

You know the relief you feel, when you’ve been looking for something that you want really bad, and it finally comes in sight? That’s how I felt when I spotted our boarding area. We had made it!

While Patricia Hogenes works as a paralegal for a law office, her real loves are her 3 kids.  She has been writing freelance articles 10 years, on topics as varied as law and legal matters, adolescent drug treatment, and health topics.  She currently writes for the aviation law firm of SlackDavis.com.

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