Remember when, for a long-haul flight, I would wash down an Ambien with a glass of wine during the first drink service and wake up on another continent with only a slight kink in my neck to show for it?
Remember when the worst thing about jet-lag was that I felt like eating breakfast foods at dinner time and would wake up slightly bored at 3am?
These days I spend hour after hour suspended over the Pacific Ocean on a high-alert level of wakefulness, holding contorted and sometimes painful positions to assure the comfort of my toddler so that she stays asleep as long as possible, sparing me the agony of both entertaining a nearly 2-year-old in a confined space and the terror of possible meltdowns by a child who has not had enough rest. On this trip over she cried once, upon descent into Tokyo while yelling ‘ears hurt!’, and I still felt mentally drained by the time we taxied to our gate.
The following days have been spent in a precarious balance of jet-lag rehabilitation that combines the conflicting feelings of both needing my child to stay awake and wanting desperately for her to be asleep. All while wanting breakfast foods at dinner time.
The best part is that when you try to moan about these inconveniences people often have one of two reactions. Either they try to convince you and/or reassure themselves that you are not a terrible, ungrateful bad-mother by nodding gently as they ask you “But it’s all worth it, right? You’re so lucky to have her, of course?” or they make sure you know you are a terrible ungrateful bad-mother by telling you anecdotal tales of their niece/friend/cousin twice removed whose child was MUCH worse and who travelled MUCH further and did it for charity and what not. The interesting part is that *spoiler alert* I do love my child AND I realize all situations could always be worse and yet I still feel tired! Weird!
In conclusion, to all the passengers seated near me on Delta flight 627, I really do appreciate how sweet, helpful and complimentary you were during that very long journey. And that is not sarcastic, those people were great. Except for the guy who kept his overhead reading light on right next to us. And let it shine down on the face of my toddler who likes to sleep in a lightless void. And when he put his eyemask on (!?!) but didn’t turn the light off, I’m sure he had his reasons. And when he woke up and found his light off I didn’t bother explaining anything to him because of the language barrier. But in case he is reading this, it was me. As soon as you started mouth-breathing I reached over and turned your light off and we all slept better. Next time bring eyemasks for all of us.