I was a bit frazzled on Christmas when 5:00 pm rolled around and it was time for us to head out the door to the airport.
Everything was packed and the house was pretty much clean,
but my mind had been going in a hundred different directions for the past several hours and I felt like a basket case.
Sam loaded up the boys and took them to a nearby house to see a display of amazing music-synchronized Christmas lights and gave me 10 or 15 minutes at home alone to finish up readying the house for our 2 week absence and then picked me up and we were off!
I communicated my frazzled state of being to Sam and he kindly diverted all the boys' questions to himself for the majority of the 30-minute drive to the airport so I could mentally take a breather and just be silent.
By the time we got to the airport I was more calm and collected, and we headed in to check in.
The airport was slow and sleepy with quiet strains of leftover Christmas music playing and cheerful decorations that did little to cheer me up when we were told we could not have our stroller in the airport and would need to check it with our luggage.
Sam and I have a really great system worked out in airports with all 5 kids, and it relies heavily on our sit-n-stand stroller! I'm sure you can imagine how helpful it is when loading onto airplanes, managing layovers, and keeping toddlers contained as we shuffle everyone through security with our 6 carry-on bags and 6 backpacks.
I explained (politely, but with some stress) that we had never had an issue with the stroller before,
but the agent was firm and said, "I can't be held accountable for what others AREN'T doing, but I am not allowed to let you take it."
I understand...I mean, he was just doing his job...but I was REALLY irritated at the policy (which, as I suspected, was not an issue on our return trip!).
It was a good thing going through security was a breeze, the Memphis airport was so empty, and our layover in Dallas was short.
By the time we boarded our flight in Dallas, it was after 10:00 pm and Benson seemed ready to keel over with exhaustion. Everything was going perfectly according to plan. We had been able to keep him awake on the first flight so that, in theory, he would sleep during the entire second flight to Utah.
once we boarded the plane, he seemed to catch a second wind and suddenly became an extremely hyper monkey that was flinging himself about in my arms. I was struggling to keep him from kicking the chair in front of us and keep him quiet, and as the flight continued I began to get desperate.
I was trying everything I could think of to get him to calm down, but to no avail.
It was after 11:00 pm when I bowed my head and offered a short mental prayer, expressing that I had tried everything I could think of and Benson would not calm down and that I feared our trip would be off to a really terrible start if he didn't get some good rest that night.
I asked Heavenly Father what I should do, and immediately instructions came very clearly into my mind.
"You need to tell him that it is time to sleep. Then you need to sing him a song and say a prayer with him, just like you do at home."
I explained to Benson that it was time to sleep and, although he groaned, "Whyyyyyyyyyyy?" he lay down in my arms submissively. I then considered what song I should sing and immediately knew I should sing "I am a Child of God."
So there on the airplane, I quietly sang those sweet, tender words to my baby who had been flailing about in my arms mere moments before.
As SOON as I started to sing, his eyelids began to droop.
When I finished the song I said a quiet prayer with him, and when I said, "Amen," I watched his eyes close for the last time, as he was sound asleep.
Tears stung my eyes because it was such a sweet experience to receive such clear, immediate inspiration in response to my simple prayer and then so miraculous to watch the completely perfect results!
I marveled the rest of that night and into the next day at the beautiful experience it was to watch that hyper one-and-a-half year old boy transform as I followed divine instructions.
I was reminded that God is ever mindful of us, that His way is always the best way, and that He works in beautiful simplicity.
All the boys except Wesley slept well on the flight (Wesley just happily played games),
and then my sister picked us up at the Salt Lake Airport and took us to her house where we crashed for a few hours of sleep before picking up our rental van and heading up to Bear Lake!
**Today's Tidbit: I love being the Primary chorister at Church! The kids have been learning "The Iron Rod" this month, and today we talked about the great and spacious building in Lehi's vision and how it represents the pride and sins of the world. While we sang, the kids loved building a "great and spacious building" with big cardboard blocks I brought. After we practiced a verse, the child called up would give an example of a temptation we might face and then crash their big tower to the ground. The kids loved participating--I mean, what kid doesn't love to build a huge tower and then knock it over with a flourish?? Afterward, several of the boys came running up to the front to help me put away all my blocks into the big box I brought them in, and then one 10-year-old boy hung around afterward for a while to see if I needed any help carrying things out to my car. Such gentlemen!