I heard the screaming child before I saw her. In the arms of her dad, thrashing about.
"Oh, boy," I said to myself. "I sure hope my seat on the plane is located completely opposite as their seats."
The couple sat in the seat directly in front of me. With their screaming kid.
During the 3 hour flight.
Surrounding passengers seemed to be handling the cries of the wee babe well enough, yet I somehow felt they were deeply irritated.
As a mother of three, teacher to thirty, I definitely sympathized with the couple. I've been there, once or twice. But I was hoping for some much needed solitude right about then.
Since there was no getting away from the screams, I began to reflect on how the parents must have felt.
Embarrassed. Overwhelmed. Confined.
I overheard the mother tell the father to "stop!". I'm pretty sure he was setting the child on the floor, between his feet, to hopefully muffle the babe's piercing cries. Listening to the mother he, once again, placed the child on his lap.
"Is she hungry?" a kindly steward asked.
"I think it's her ears," the mother quietly answered.
"The seatbelt light is off. You can walk her up the aisle. See if that helps," he offered.
The mother did just that.
I could hear the screaming until I couldn't. Maybe she went into the bathroom. Or maybe she was pacing in the rear of the plane. Not sure. All I knew was that it was finally peaceful.
About 20 minutes later, the mother returned with a sleeping babe in her arms.
Sleeping for an hour or so. Then the screams began once again.
I choose to remain calm within, even though my headache was escalating. I sympathized with the child. All she knew was that she was in pain and simply didn't know what to do about it except scream.
After what seemed like forever, the flight ended. So did the little girl's screams. She was smiling. Happy. Her dad raised her up. Keeping her entertained. She looked at me. Smiled. "DaDaDaDaDaDa," she said to me.
"Hello. I am so glad you are feeling better," I told her, knowing she didn't understand my words but, I am pretty sure she did understand my smile. Her mom turned, looked at me, and smiled.
Headache still present, I felt it was not much compared to the babe's pain.
I walked off the plane, looking for some Advil.