I have always believed I am capable of travelling light. When I pack, I’m sure I’ve only put in the necessary items and yet, the bag always topples at the weight.
We get to security and it’s then I realise I’ve packed too much. I take off my shoes and coat, take out my laptop, remove the bottles of formula, pile up the first bag, the second bag, take out the baby, wheel the buggy through. My cheeks flush.
We make it through and head to the lounge for breakfast. She brings a highchair and, as I squash him in it, I remember for the millionth time that he’s big for his ’14-month old’ title, pounds I should have considered when I packed our worldly belongings.
They call our flight and we walk to the gate. We make our way down the walkway to the plane and, as we reach the plane door, I load myself up with bags. I recall the lady at security searching my bags handing my third bag to me, raising her eyebrows and saying: “travelling light, huh?”
With my backpack on and the diaper bag on my shoulder, I try to pick up my 30-pound boy from the pushchair. I feel like I’m at the dead-lift rack in the gym. My brain automatically tries to calculate what I must be squatting right now; maybe 60 pounds? A new record. I know I have to manage it because I can feel the whole queue staring at me. I feel sure they’re thinking: ‘she’s brought way too much stuff. What was thinking?’ I want to prove them wrong, so I manage the lift while thinking I may be close to passing out.
We make it to our seats and I dump the bags feeling relief at the freedom. The stewardess puts the tray of drinks under my nose and I take a flute of Prosecco. It’s 8 am, but it’s lunchtime where we’re headed.
We land, and I pull down the bags. They are lighter than before, but I’m still cursing the extra couple of books I brought. I load myself up and want to give something to the baby to carry, but then I remember, he needs me to carry him.
We wade off the plane and grab our pushchir from the hold. I take my hand off it for a moment and it topples backward from the weight, leaving the baby laying splayed in the pram while I’m desperately trying not to use expletives.
We head for baggage claim and find only our bag is left. I grab it and maneuver our way out with the pram, the baby, the suitcase, the baby bag and a rucksack cursing myself once again for overpacking. In one hand I have about 50 pounds, the other 30. Heavier than I’m used to, but much like when I’m in the supermarket with the buggy and the trolley cart.
Maybe I don’t travel light after all.