The Longest Shortest Night

More than a month later, here is the second half of the story about our trip over.

After a morning fraught with fear as we worried about making the flight until the very last minute, we hoped that the moment we boarded the plane together would signal the end of our troubles and allow us some peace. We knew better, because taking two children on a trans-Atlantic flight is guaranteed to be interesting and not particularly relaxing. The euphoria of being together still carried us through most of the first leg of the flight without incident. Elena seemed mostly happy strapped into her car seat by the window, although she did play with the window cover more than we would have liked before she fell asleep for a nice long nap. Roman wiggled a lot and fussed some, but no more than usual. We were seated in the very back row, so we had easy access to the rest room and the flight attendants played peek-a-boo with Roman when he had hard times.

Elena even slept through the landing which normally scares her, and woke up as we taxied towards the terminal. All of a sudden and without warning she threw up. We had dealt with some illness over the previous several days, but the day before our flight neither children had a problem and both seemed to be well on the way to recovery. Something in the combination of the flight and lingering illness pushed Elena over the limit. Luckily, Jenny had packed several extra outfits for each child in our carry-ons, and they were able to clean up and change at the first opportunity once we deboarded the plane.

During a long layover we tried to rest and recover as much as possible. We kept Elena calm and contained by turning on some shows on our new laptop in a first real test of its battery life, during which it performed admirably. Roman and I walked around, but he never fell asleep, as he way paying too much attention to the activity all around the busy airport. The time to board the plane came on all too soon. We got on early and sat together, trading one seat with a young woman who was all to happy to sit in the aisle seat assigned to me. Takeoff went okay, but eventually Elena’s illness expressed itself again and she had to have her clothes changed again.

With that past, we all needed to catch whatever rest we could. Roman’s dislike of cuddling and sleeping in our laps complicated things, but after the long day he succumbed to my embrace and ended up asleep, sprawled out across my lap. Once he was down, I arranged myself as best I could so that I could close my eyes and not worry about dropping him on the floor. It worked surprisingly well for me–I think I got at least a few hours of rest–but locked Jenny in an uncomfortable position. Flying from west to east on a northern route during the late spring doesn’t afford many dark hours, but we slept through the sunrise, like many of the people on the plane, although we were all up before the final descent began.

The airport was mostly quiet when we arrived, and it took extra time for us to get to and through customs, so most of the other passengers from our flight were gone by the time we picked up our baggage. We had to wait even a while longer for our taxi to arrive for the long drive to our destination, but the driver was quite nice when he arrived and his van had plenty of space for us all to stretch our legs and enjoy a nap while he carried us through the English countryside. It was a peaceful conclusion to the trip, but only the beginning of our adventure.

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