"So, Mom, where are we going on our honeymoon?" my son asked me shortly after Steven proposed.
Good question, I thought. Wait a minute…are kids invited?
"What is a honeymoon?" Maddi wanted to know.
"A moon covered in honey," her all-knowing brother explained.
"Can you eat it?" she asked.
Luckily, their two new older sisters know lots of things about lots of stuff. "A honeymoon is a vacation for moms and dads." I think this is where the conversation got creative. Outnumbered two to one, Cajsa, Onie, Jordan and Maddi decided we should take a family trip together–a family-moon instead of a honeymoon.
This only made sense as Maddi had told everyone leading up to the wedding, "We're getting married!" It was true. We got married. We became a family. All six of us are in this thing together. We are blending and learning and adapting to what life looks like with more people in it.
So, we decided to blend some more in the warm and inviting country of Costa Rica. A family-moon adventure. Accompanied by my mom to enjoy the sun and fresh pineapples, mangos, bananas and maybe a free night or afternoon of "family-moon" babysitting.
We packed two large suitcases for the six of us plump full of flip flops, shorts, bug spray and homework (we forgot the sunscreen)! Proud of our accomplishment to "pack lightly," Cajsa looked at the bags and said, "Yep! One big happy family."
Up at 2:30 A.M. to catch a 5:20 A.M. flight, our kids chattered and giggled as if it were the first day of summer break, throwing on sweatshirts and shoes and piling into Grandpa's van, our dedicated taxi driver. Filing into the airport we looked like a miniature four-man bob-sled team with a trainer and two coaches. Steven nodded towards the agents at the check-in counter and said, "I hope we get one with a smile."
Smiling indeed, our agent grabbed our first bag and informed us that we were over the weight limit by two pounds and would have to pay a $150 overage charge. So much for my google-ing research that told me international flight weight limits are 70 pounds. The ticket agent said it had recently been changed to 50 pounds for economy class. Some economics!
Still smiling, the agent seemed impressed by four children lined up like a little ladder. She suggested I re-pack my carryon and check it as a bag. The challenging part to this equation was that our second bag was 10 pounds over the limit. All I could think was, it's a good thing I was a Peace Corps volunteer. We finagled flip flops and shorts and bug spray and homework (good thing we forgot sunscreen) and swapped stuff back and forth, using extra room in Grandma's suitcase and playing with the scale until everything balanced out. Three bags checked, no weight penalty given, money saved. Let the family-moon begin!
Steven smiled at my tenacity and said, "Way to go, now we just need to pay $150 to all those standing in line behind us waiting to check in."
Onto seat assignments. We had seven seats and not one seat was next to another for the sold out flight to Atlanta. As we worked to trade seats so that our children would not be sitting alone, one gentleman looked at me offering to move and said, "I don't mind helping you out." That type of kindness before 6 o'clock in the morning is better than the "Drive Through Difference" at Starbucks. Several generous people made it possible for our little bob-sled team to sit together.
Our kids were enamored with the flight. It was Cajsa and Onie's first time flying which made everything brand-new for everyone. Jordan held Onie's hand during take-off and Maddi made sure everyone was chewing gum to help with their ears popping.
During snack time on the plane, Onie turned around and told me, "The cookies are called Delta."
Many people were watching us, I assume to figure out our story. I guess they have us pegged, a crazy family that loves to travel together.
What an adventure and we hadn't even taken off yet!