We approach the stack of bins and both girls promptly drop to the ground, grappling with their shoes. I no longer have to tell them what to do. Two little pairs of shoes plunk into the gray plastic tray and they're shrugging off their jackets.
Moments later they are standing in front of the metal detector, waiting to be waived through by the TSA agent who is beaming at them, delighted for once to be facing adorable half-pints thrilled to be there instead of impatient business travelers just bored with the whole process.
"This is my favorite part!" My five-year-old says to me, eyes bright with excitement.
"What? Coming to the airport?" I ask, assuming that she's talking about the overall trip.
"No, the taking off the shoes part."
When they were little I dreaded this part, hated the whole juggling act that was necessary to get everyone, stroller, bags, babies, shoes, jackets, sling, diaper bag, formula, and baby food organized under the glaring eye of all those impatient travelers who just had their own shoes and jackets to place on the conveyor belt. Getting through security with young children should be an Olympic event or at the very least a stress management class final exam.
But now I find that it's no longer the most stressful part of air travel. In fact, with my two seasoned half-pint travelers by my side, jetting from one place to another is just an adventure where even things like taking off your shoes and greeting a jaded security agent is part of the endless sequence of thrills.
I push away my own impatience and annoyance and look around me. I smile at a security agent and at the mom juggling her own load behind me. It is fun to be here. It is neat to be doing something so different.Continued on the next page