Day 29 / by Vanessa Fiola

**For one more day I'll be posting 500 words a day here as part of a creative writing challenge. Join the FB group.”

At what point do you concede that the single socks in your sock drawer will never again be paired? I don’t waste time wondering what happened to their partners; I just have a hard time accepting that they’ll never come back. Right now I have at least seven or so individual socks that have been floating around for over a year and I refuse to throw them away. One time I found the other sock after throwing away its match, and that anomaly has haunted me ever since. I am incapable of moving forward.

We are packing for a few days away in Seattle. Our flight is at an unreasonable hour. In other words, I’m sorry for our toddler, other passengers on Alaska flight 165. I am not sorry enough to make you individual snack packs filled with Hershey miniatures and an earnest note asking each of you to bear with us, however, because it turns out I am not sorry at all. 

I am hardened now. *Gulp.*

Before I had children, I was that person who audibly groaned whenever a baby or small child sat within a five-row radius. I have bitched an embarrassingly large number of times about how airlines should have child-free flights and/or stow them with cargo. Of course, now I think they’re all sweet little angels.

On one of Jonah’s first flights, he was uncharacteristically colicky boarding the plane. In those early days I tried to coordinate his nap schedule with our flight times. Ryan and I were so tense that we shout-whispered obscenities at each other, which is classy when you’re carrying a newborn. After we landed, a well-meaning older woman approached us and shared that the best thing we could do for our child is to love each other. Thank you, random stranger. I bet you have lots of friends.

I forget how many flights Jonah has taken. For the first two years of his life I travelled a lot for work. My family came with me most times. After my traveling slowed, Ryan produced a series that filmed in Seattle. And now Jonah has been to a bunch of states and seven countries. (Well, six if you ignore the US, which I would like to very much do for the next four years. Ahem.) I was 21 before I had traveled as much as he has already. It is one of the few silver linings I take away from the amount we've been on the road. Our child therapist told us that being so fluid with his routines affected his confidence. That knowledge is a good way to have your heart broken.

Anyway, the number of horrible flights he’s had have been few. Once, on an evening flight from London to Copenhagen, he was woken by a surly flight attendant (*cough* Ryan Air *cough*), who insisted he be in his own seatbelt after the plane took off. It required removing him from the comfort and safety of his Ergo to place him on my lap in an ill-fitted seatbelt on a bumpy flight. He cried the remainder of the short flight and the German man sitting next to us sneered at me the way Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) looks at SNAP recipients. I avoided eye contact.  

In the time since then, I’ve gotten a lot better at navigating our own on-board tantrums with a change in preparation approach, impromptu games and good ole fashioned bribery. It’s paid off. When we were traveling this winter Jonah took on the role of ringleader of games for the children in seats surrounding us. Which is great—parents like me can just sit back and drink crappy airplane wine. And the non-parents can too.