I remember when my girls were little one year preparing for a flight to Florida. My girls were 4 and 2 and were seasoned travelers. They knew how to be on their best behavior at an airport, (and occasionally even did so), knew how to navigate pre 9/11 security like they worked for the TSA, and knew the rules about having physical contact with either me or a suitcase I was carrying. These girls had seasoned travel skills. I remember preparing for the trip, packing suitcases, and more suitcases. Getting “entertainment bags” ready for the airplane ride so that they would in no way disturb anyone else on the plane. I packed plenty of clothes, and then a few extras. I packed favorite teddy bears and blankets. I packed favorite shampoos and bubble bath. I packed snacks and coloring books for them to entertain themselves without the luxury of IPads or smartphones. I packed small toys, puzzles, little dolls, gum and whatever else I could come up with that might keep them occupied during our flight. I packed anything and everything I could think of to decrease the possibility of someone having a meltdown at 20,000 feet.
My ex-husband had a rule about never checking luggage because he felt it wasted valuable time waiting for luggage retrieval. We carried everything on. EVERYTHING. The morning of the flight came and the car was packed up and ready to go. When we got to the airport we began to unload and I was given my assignment. This is the baggage you are responsible for and this is the baggage I will take. I very dutifully gathered up my assigned bags and walked toward our check-in. Somewhere between security and the gate my oldest daughter decided that she was done dragging her suitcase and my youngest daughter wanted to be carried. I was a young mom at the time and had not yet learned the valuable speech of “Suck it up princess and just keep moving”, so I added another bag to my load and carried my 2 year old. I had two suitcases, three carry-on bags, a 4 year old hanging on the tower of rolling suitcases, and was carrying a 2 year old who really just wanted to ride the escalator again. I was so focused on not dropping anything. Bags and bags of stuff. I could faintly hear my ex casually talking about what we would do when we first got to Florida, but I couldn’t focus. I was carrying bags, , and making sure my 4 year old was right beside me, that I didn’t drop the two year old, and constantly making sure I had everything and the bags were heavy…really, really heavy. I could hear the sounds of the airport, could hear my ex giving me instructions, but all I could focus on was not dropping the bags.
It was my baggage, my responsibility to carry the things I had to carry. If I dropped something no one was going to follow behind me and pick something up, it was mine. Don’t drop anything…just keep moving.
Baggage is heavy. It weighs us down and yet it’s ours. You can’t just drop bags at the airport or it will be a suspicious package. I’ve been carrying the same baggage for decades. As I move on in my life I occasionally pick up a new bag. Here’s a little more baggage for you.
Then one day someone offered to help you carry a bag? There’s something about it that is alluring, and intoxicating, and attractive, and scary, and terrifying, and did I mention scary?? What if I get used to someone helping and then they don’t want to help and I have to carry that bag again? Will I be able to? There’s a lot of vulnerability in letting someone see your baggage and then help you carry it.
Sometimes you just have to let go. Sometimes you just have to take all that baggage and decide I’m not doing carry on, I’m checking this baggage. Sometimes you just have to let someone help you carry. Sometimes, you just have to take a leap, a jump, an exercise in total inexplicable faith and believe in the gift of baggage assistance. Sometimes you just have to accept that it’s not just my baggage, it’s OUR baggage. So, since you are helping, do you mind carrying the really, really heavy one?