A Letter of Thanks by Vicky Dal Molin

I used to think Air travel was an excruciating process…. Until that is when I travelled with a 2 year old. I was indeed made to learn that air travel can be far more agonizing than I could possible have imagined.

So I started penning a letter to all the airlines, airports, flight attendants, and non-child bearing passengers of the world who made the journey not so fun….. Like the policy that confiscated my stroller once I boarded the plane in NYC and managing to leave 1.5 hours late meant I had the job of carrying my screaming temper tantrum child from one terminal to another, through customs and duty free with all those bright shiny displays of my son’s favourite chocolate bar so I could make my flight.

Or the endless lines, waiting, delays and more lines. A 2 year old loves nothing more than to wait in those. I have to admit I love waiting in them too – especially when said 2 year old gets especially impatient. And of course the airlines for making such small bathroom cubicles with even smaller change tables. I have now learnt the art of no handed diaper changes in thin air. Etc etc But then while I was thinking about the journey I realized that despite the discomfort, the process being so kin “unfriendly” that there were so many shows from complete strangers of help and support – they far outweigh the negative. So I’m investing my time in penning the following….

Dear [airline staff and parents of other toddlers traveling on the same flight]

Thank you all so much for your help, compassion and generosity along the way.

To the security guard that took pity on my as my son decided he wasn’t waiting in any line and no way was he being screened – for pushing me to the front of the line and helping me along – you actually made my son calm down and pay attention to everything around him.

To the flight attendant who moved the passenger next to us so we could have the whole row to ourselves…. My son slept so much more comfortably as a result. And I actually got to watch an ENTIRE movie at once! I can’t remember when that happened last.

To the staff in Australia who saw me carrying my sleeping son and 3 bags off the plane – thank you for arranging a cart, helping me through customs and finally to my confiscated stroller….. not sure I would have made it without having to wake him. He got off the plane at our final destination laughing, and wide awake which would never have happened if he had not gotten that nap.

To the family that adopted my son for the last hour of the 20 hours flight – his grins and laughter despite being confined to such a small space made me appreciate that if he could still laugh and smile… what was I complaining about.

To the young couple with an infant who gave me the last of their milk as my son proceeded to try and scream down the plane because he had managed to consume the gallon I brought with me – thank you! You have instilled in my a renewed belief that there are still generous people in the world and I hope that someone repays that kindness to you if the need ever arose – I wish it would be me but I suspect our paths will likely not cross again – I have however payed it forward to another “in need” mother.

To the dad of the toddler at LAX who chased down my son over and over after he had exhausted me making me chase him – thank you for your energy. My son made a buddy that day – he wouldn’t have shared his favourite horse with just anyone.

There are more people to thank – and I hope we conveyed our gratitude enough at the time. My son’s favourite word these days is thank you so he definitely hears it a lot.

I just wish I could go back to those days and show a little more understanding and compassion to the parents of all those kids on all those flights I had been on. Maybe they wouldn’t have been quite so bad if I had seen the flight through their eyes.

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