Travel and Children

Travel and Children.
Our trip lasted almost 24 hours. First we flew non-stop for 7 hours, and of course one has to add those two hours pre-flight for check in, luggage, customs and passports control, then the same stuff in reverse order after landing. A night at an airport hotel, and on we go, another long flight, with all the attendant procedures.oh this Transatlantic flight we were fortunate to be surrounded by several families with children, from tiny babies barely a month or two old to toddlers aged two or three years. A tiny critter next to us would start, “Aaaaiiiiiii!” – and all the others would join it, rather like a chain task. None of them yelled their heads off, they just fretted or maybe tried to communicate. For me there is something infinitely soothing in those touching sounds and almost infinitesimal movements. One young father would get up from his seat and walk slowly along the isle back and forth, cradling the tiny child, whispering calming words and simply brushing his lips or cheek against the little barely seen head. All the parents maintained basically the same position, their arms curved around the small bundles, their bodies curling around protectively. I dozed off to the accompaniment of that funny chorus. In a couple hours I awoke with a jolt. Was anything wrong? In a second I realized what it was: silence. All the young passengers must have fallen asleep, and their parents switched off too. Curled or slumped awkwardly in their seats, even in their repose automatically maintaining that protective stance. I walked carefully to the end of the plane, glancing around, seeing the same picture. Traveling families safe in their closeness to each other, snug and comfortable even in the cramped rows of our economy class. Here and there, the parents sitting on the sides of a row, with their child stretched out in the middle, blissfully free of any worries and cares. It’s amazing how little space young children need once they stop fidgeting and fall asleep. Their little bodies occupy the middle seat, with one small hand holding on to mom and small feet tucked into dad’s lap.

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