Paw Squad Life
Thanksgiving Travel with a Toddler
By Tom Stock
June 15, 2022
Holiday travel is always a challenge. Sometimes are more challenging than others.
When my daughter was a toddler, she and I flew to Omaha, where my family lived, for a Thanksgiving visit. At the time, we were pretty strapped for money. But a friend who was a travel agent (remember those before there was an internet and orbitz.com?) found a $49 round trip ticket for us from Milwaukee to Omaha. Since my daughter was under 2, she could ride on my lap for free (remember, no car seats on airplanes?).
I jumped at the chance to go home for the holiday. Her first birthday was between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And my sisters and parents had not seen her since she was 6 months old.
It was a great chance for me to go home for the holiday AND take all my Christmas gifts with us for my family, so I didn’t have to ship them. That alone saved me ½ the price of the plane fare.
We packed the big suitcase (remember the ones without wheels you could check for free?) and hopped on the big silver bird headed for the sky.
I had told my mother that Katy was walking – at 10 months of age. I guess she didn’t believe me – she thought she was taking a step here and there. As we deplaned, I saw my mom and sister approaching, so I let the little toddler loose. She went RUNNING toward them. My mom gasped, as I think she expected slow steps, not a full-blown gallop off the plane.All was well at dinner and wrapping gifts to leave.
We departed Omaha for Milwaukee but ran into bad weather. Our flight that was to connect in Chicago was cancelled there. Here I was 2 and a half hours from home, with no car, late on Sunday night, alone with just myself and a wild toddler. I found a pay phone as there were no cell phones then (remember putting a dime in a pay phone, with a stiff metal cord?) and called my husband. Of course, he was on his way to the Milwaukee airport to pick us up.
Somehow, after several hours, we connected. He headed to O’Hare to rescue us. Needless to say, it was a long and harrowing trip. And much to our surprise, I was pregnant again, but didn’t know it at the time (remember when there were no pregnancy kits at the drug store for early pregnancy diagnosis?).
All in all, holiday travel is glorious, but it does have its shortcomings. Enjoy the time you have with your loved ones. Eat too much, keep the drama to a minimum, and laugh a lot.
-Dr. Marty Greer, DVM