The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Sweet Kids. The Airplane Edition.

Before we board, the mother in the pink Adidas t-shirt leaves her two daughters with her husband as she storms away to take a call, announcing to the gate area, “What? No. We couldn’t find anyone to watch my kids. No one wants to do it. My kids are crazy.”  Nearly all the waiting passengers glance over at the father and the children, and then sadly toward their boarding passes. Some close their eyes, perhaps wishing for the young family to be in a different section during the 9 hour flight.

Naturally, it’s easy to locate difficult kids on an airplane, but the excellent ones are also there. A little girl whimpers and threatens to cry as we taxi, but she’s joking. In the next second she smiles and waves at her neighbors. Another child grins around his pacifier. Outside the restroom, an elderly woman rests in the jump seat. At her side is a little boy with a blanket and a Curious George doll who tells passengers waiting for vacancy, “Wait a minute! My mom is in there. I’m supposed to wait here with my monkey.”  And people stand patiently, smiling at him, as he warns others who arrive.  “My mom is in there.” So pleased with his task.

And the girls previewed so poorly by their mother, they sit patiently in their seats. Their father reaches into the overhead bin to get down a favorite blanket, and they don’t make a sound, other than happy-quiet laughter as they watch a movie.  After all the nervous glances across the aisles, here sits hope against hope.

–Flight from Chicago to Vienna.

family photos

Since Mom is the one who looks like Doris Day, can you guess which one is yours truly? 🙂

8 comments on “Sweet Kids. The Airplane Edition.

  1. safia
    October 24, 2013

    I would guess you’re the one on the right with the plaits hanging forward – but it’s not easy – you’re all so beautiful!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      October 24, 2013

      Thank you, Safia. I’m in the middle flanked by my older sisters who are twins. The non-Mom woman is Mom’s dear friend June, and the reason my middle name is Mary-June. 🙂

  2. Peripatetic Eric
    October 24, 2013

    That’s easy…the one making the face. The others are twins? Great vignette!

  3. Kathleen
    October 27, 2013

    I wince for the children…and for the mother who publicly shamed them. It makes me wonder how my kids think about the things I say.

  4. Marylin Warner
    October 27, 2013

    What a great post…and a lovely family! Your mom does look like Doris Day, and in most of my growing-up pictures I was the one making the face, too. I’d try to smile, but then by the time the picture was clicked I was blinking or sighing or yawning or just acting up.
    The things some parents say about, around, and behind the backs of their children really do make me cringe. And then there are the good, calm, pleasant parents who just try to do the best they can. It takes all kinds, I guess, but I remember what our neighbor used to say about the rude, hurtful words coming out of the mouths of some parents: “It just makes you want to spray them with a fire extinguisher, doesn’t it?”
    (You didn’t want to mess with our neighbor lady.)

  5. lioness
    October 30, 2013

    What beautiful creatures! Absolutely, love the smile!

  6. alienheartbeat
    October 31, 2013

    ah, someone else who remembers Doris Day. And your mother does look like her!

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