Going through security with two small children, I wondered why no one would lend me a hand.
I would like to thank the man who helped me during my recent flight from Maine to Orlando.
I repeat, man, the one and only person in a sea of travelers who lent a hand as I struggled to get myself and two small children through three airports during the six-hour journey.
My aerial Prince Charming was a baggage handler at JFK who opened my stroller and pointed the wheels toward the ramp – it was the simplest of gestures, but so thoughtful, I nearly cried.
"You're the nicest person I've met all day," I told him.
"You gotta be kiddin' me," he said, his thick Queens accent accentuating his disbelief.
I wish I was, or that it was just an issue of men being clueless that day. But only two women openly sympathized with my struggle – an elderly lady with a cane and a mother of twins.
Let me stress that I am not expecting people to take care of me.
After nearly 20 flights traveling alone with my toddler, I'm freakishly self-sufficient. If there were an Olympic sport for going through security, I'd get the gold. I can have my stroller and son through the X-ray machine while single travelers are still unlacing their shoes. My motions are swift and economical: Traveling with a child is like running a marathon, you have to pace yourself, conserving your energy for the long stretches (and inevitable layovers).
My 4-year old loves to fly, it's the one time I let him have his own bag of Cheetos. Believe me, there is a time and place for the synthetic orange food, which lulls him into such a dreamlike state that disembarking strangers actually compliment me on how well behaved my child is.
My sense of confidence about flying evaporated on my last trip – the maiden voyage as a mother of two.
Before departing for the airport, I did a practice run in my living room to perfect my travel system that involved strapping my 2-month-old daughter in a sling so one hand would be free to navigate the stroller carrying my toddler and diaper bag.