This rotation made it all worth it! The hustle, the struggle, the point of almost giving up.
I flew a fantastic family. I flew a rapper with a temper and a history of drive-by shooting. Both were incredibly different experiences but both involved young children.
I remember years ago, I had a flight back to the east coast from San Diego to visit my Mom. I had a window seat. The toddler in front of me also had a window seat. We locked eyes between the seat and the bulkhead and I reached up to give a little wave with my pointer finger. Damn, if that kid didn’t grab my finger with a death grip and not let go until we landed. Not the most comfortable flight but comforting nonetheless. In a matter of moments, I was able to gain this child’s trust, attention, and perhaps adoration resulting in him feeling comfort from me.
My mom had said I should be a ‘flight nanny’, entertain children for these parents while flying. Ha. Foreshadowing was her forté.
So back to my most recent rotation. It began on a trip to Mexico with a family of six and two dogs. A six year old girl, we’ll call her Abigail, hops on board excitedly in a Dolce & Gabbana tracksuit. (I recognized the print when an even younger child wore the same outfit a few rotations ago.) Immediately, she was asking loads of questions and I had an answer for each one. By the time I was to take my seat to descend, she and I had spent hours coloring, doing puzzles, and practicing first grade spelling and reading Sleeping Beauty in Russian, as she’s bilingual.
I had teased in my post-flight report that I would gladly extend my rotation to fly this family back from their vacation.
The odds were in my favor and today, I got to fly Abigail back from Mexico. To hear her squeal my name in surprise and delight when she saw me at the top of the stairway was music to my ears. I had only spent five hours with this little girl and it was enough for her to remember my name and greet me with a big hug.
While I don’t think the rapper’s son will ever remember me, he’s far too young, I do hope somewhere in the corners of his heart and the back of his brain, he remembers a sweet flight attendant that scooped him up into her lap when everyone else was asleep.
I never did catch this little one’s name. Three year old babble is still a language I’m not fluent in despite all but two of my friends having children and being an Auntie Rachie, a JewJew, and everything else in between to several ‘nieces’ and ‘nephews’. Hahahahaha
This rapper threw a fit as we approached 10 thousand feet and just as my pilot gave me the go-ahead to get up from the jumpseat. I suspect he was angry that there weren’t enough outlets for the gaming device he brought with him but all he kept shouting was “TURN THE PLANE THE FUCK AROUND”.
Thankfully, the tantrum didn’t last long and after a bite to eat, all seven male adults fell asleep, leaving me to entertain a three year old. By myself.
Aside from taking a ton of selfies at his request and opening and closing every compartment and feigning shock every time he managed to do it by himself, he would snuggle onto my lap lightly drawing a small circle in the same spot on my back. Occasionally, he’d look up at me like he was checking to see if I had fallen asleep.
The first time he wanted to get down from my lap, he looked me square in the eye and said ‘mama down’. That was it! I’ve never had a maternal feeling. An auntie feeling, oh yes, but never this.
‘Of course I’ll be your mama for the next few hours,’ I thought to myself. He was too sweet to do otherwise. Plus, I had seen the production his hot-headed father had put on and thought this baby needed some motherly-like love.
And that’s exactly what I did. When that baby wanted to snuggle, we snuggled. When he wanted to rub my face like Helen Keller ‘seeing’ someone for the first time, I let him. I made sure he had dinner and plenty of water.
While I exchanged phone numbers with Abigail’s mom and I have an open invitation to visit them in New York, the same isn’t true with the three year old. Even if I never make it to NY to see Abigail, I hope both of those kids will remember their ‘flight nanny’.
This is a SkyAngels life.