kids

"I almost started crying." A mum's open letter to the man 'annoyed' by her daughter on a plane.

Travelling with little kids can be seriously hard work.

No matter how many games, toys, snacks and books you bring along to keep your child distracted and quiet, it’s never quite as easy as you expect it to be.

After all, no matter what you do, there’s always a chance that your child will throw a tantrum anyway.

When mum Stephanie Hollifield boarded a flight with her two-year-old daughter Haley, she soon realised her flight wasn’t going to be a pleasant experience.

But it wasn’t because of her daughter.

Sharing an open letter on Facebook, Stephanie told her story about a cranky passenger on the flight – and it’s one that every parent can certainly relate to.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

To the Gentleman on Flight 1451, I first noticed you when you sighed loudly as you laid eyes on me and my toddler boarding the plane. From the over dramatic huffs and puffs you let out as we buckled in, it was clear that you were annoyed by our very presence. I wondered if you had a bad day, or if this grouchy temperament was your normal temperament. This was the first time that I had ever flown with a child, and I was making half of the trip without my husband. I did everything in my power to keep her calm and quiet. I shushed her, and made sure her little feet didn’t kick your seat. As we took off, her tears started. The kicking and the screaming tantrums came on fast. She had been up since early morning. She hadn’t had a nap. She hadn’t eaten much. She was exhausted and fussy. You did not let up with your mutters of annoyance and looks over your shoulder. I apologized to everyone around me. I almost started crying myself. I was feeling shame and guilt for not being able to control my own child. I was at the end of my rope, but then, an angel to the rescue- the flight attendant came by and gave my daughter a cup and straw to play with. Somehow, her kindness calmed my baby. Somehow, her simple words made me feel better. She was right. We were doing great! We were doing our best, and that’s as great as it gets. The problem wasn’t with us, it was with you. What you need to know, is that while children can be terribly inconvenient now, they will run the world when you are old and grey. These kids might one day discover the cure for the type of cancer that runs in your family. They can be selfish and loud, but they can also be precious and loving. They might grow up to build systems and make laws that benefit us all. We will need them one day, and they need us now. They need a kind word. They need the novelty of a plastic cup and conversation with a new friend. They need someone to look square in their mama’s nervous eyes and tell them that they are doing great, and that everything is going to be ok. If you can’t muster up a smile and a hello, then simple silence will do just fine. The world has enough negativity.

A post shared by Stephanie Hollifield (@hollifield_stephanie) on

“I first noticed you when you sighed loudly as you laid eyes on me and my toddler boarding the plane,” she wrote.

“In a momentary lapse of judgement, we sat behind you. It was the nearest set of seats, and I couldn’t wait to put my child and our heavy bags down. From the over dramatic huffs and puffs you let out as we buckled in, it was clear that you were annoyed by our very presence,” she continued.

“At this point, my little girl was laughing and playing, obviously too loud for your liking.”

Stephanie, who is a writer at Momstrosity, went on to explain that the flight was the first time she had flown with her daughter without her husband.

“I did everything in my power to keep her calm and quiet. I shushed her, and made sure her little feet didn’t kick your seat,” she said.

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“But as we took off, her tears started. The kicking and screaming tantrums came on fast,” she continued.

“You did not let up with your mutters of annoyance and looks over your shoulder. I apologised to everyone around me. I almost started crying myself.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Stephanie Hollifield (@hollifield_stephanie) on

As Stephanie continued to feel more and more guilt, a kind flight attendant came to the rescue and helped distract Haley by giving her a paper cup and a straw to play with.

It was this gesture that gave Stephanie a new realisation.

“The problem wasn’t with us, it was with you,” she wrote.

“What you need to know, is that while children can be terribly inconvenient now, they will run the world when you are old and grey,” she added.

“They can be annoying and downright obnoxious, but they are also innovative and brilliant.

“I get it, kids can be a nuisance, but next time you are forced to be near one, I hope that you will be more like the flight attendant. I hope that instead of frustration and annoyance, you feel hope and goodness.”

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