We are going on a trip. A real trip that involves airplanes, and passports, and customs – Oh My! I couldn’t be more excited, and I have no idea how it’s all going to work. But I can tell you what I’ve been doing to prepare: Taking a lot of bad pictures. That are now part of the government’s file. For several years. No biggie.
First, we got the kids their passports a few months ago. And let me tell you, no one wants to get their picture taken at CVS, especially the Goose. Where Squirrel simply had to stand on a chair and, after several rounds of warnings, smiled without sticking out her tongue, we had to hold Goose up in front of the white backdrop while staying out of the shot. It probably took at least ten minutes before we got a passable photo of her where she didn’t look like a kidnapping victim. I didn’t look too pleased in my passport photo either, but I feel like it’s very authentic. It’s pretty much the same look any parent has after flying with young children.
After passports, comes global entry. Yup, that’s right. My two-year old and five-year old have global entry. Why? Imagine flying 8 hours on your second flight home, and then having to wait 30 minutes for the gate to open. Then imagine having to wait in line for another 90 minutes before you can even get into a car to get home. Suddenly $100 a head doesn’t seem like too much to pay cut down that final 90 minutes between you and home. And did I mention that I’m flying home with them by myself?
Surprisingly, the interview process wasn’t that bad. I think that when you show up on your own at 7 am with two small children and you may have forgotten to put eyeliner on your second eye because somebody had a poop emergency, they tend not to ask a lot of questions, like, “This picture looks bad, do you want to take another one?” I honestly look like I just committed a crime, but hey, at least the picture is only valid for five years and not seven.
Besides all the bad pics, there’s also the small matter of getting the kids ready. We’ve been talking this trip up for a while. They have new luggage, new backpacks, and headphones (thanks Aunt Moon!). And they’ve been practicing by putting all their stutffies in their suitcases, wheeling them around the house, and then climbing into my bed (aka the airplane) to have dinner, take a nap and land.
Why are they so excited about the airplane? Besides the fact that it’s an airplane, it’s also Daddy’s airplane. Every other weekend, Dad comes home for a few days before flying back to Vienna. When he leaves, it’s become our custom to go to our park, have a picnic, and wait for Daddy’s plane so we can wave goodbye. While it’s sad for all of us, the girls at least understand that Daddy is going somewhere rather than just disappearing.
It probably also means that every time they experience a break-up in their adult lives, they will have an inexplicable need to picnic near an airport, but we’ll deal with that later.
So yeah, I think we’re almost ready. We still need to pack, and there’s an itinerary to plan — with jet lag — but I think we’ve got this.