As we edge closer to the TSA checkpoint in Logan Airport, my stomach fills with butterflies and my chest tightens. Traveling with Type 1 diabetes is an adventure — I am always pulled aside, patted down, and swiped with a magic wand in order to ensure my insulin pump is what I say it is. Traveling with T1D, a toddler, and a baby — on an international vacation — is an even greater challenge.
When we reach the conveyor belt and begin loading our carry-on bags, the agent tells us to take our baby out of the carrier in order to walk through with her. At that moment, I forget everything about my diabetes as I realize my 7-month-old has successfully leaked through her diaper and her jeans, and all over her bucket seat. I am filled with a new anxiety coupled with embarrassment — for her, for me, for all of us. The TSA agents have obviously seen it all, and they usher us through.
After the ordeal of getting through security, I am full of dread. I quickly realize that the extra outfits I had put aside for the carry-on bags are still sitting in the living room. I have no change of clothes for my baby, and we’re only minutes into our vacation.
Mother. Of. The. Year.
Flustered, frustrated, and apologetic, I take her to the ladies’ room to clean her up while my toddler, my husband, my mother, my father, and four of my in-laws wait for us just inside the security checkpoint. Elbow-deep in baby poop, I feel the tears well in my eyes. How could I do this?
How could I not pack an extra outfit for my little queen of poop?
I clean her as best I can, using almost an entire package of wipes and airport-quality paper towels. With only a clean diaper and a T-shirt on, I bring her out to my family. Admitting that I forgot to pack a change of clothes in our carry-on luggage, I scurry back into the bathroom. In the bathroom sink, with lukewarm water and pink hand soap, I attempt to wash her stinky clothes, wring them dry, and then run her socks and pants through the hand dryer. They dry clothing about as well as they dry hands (not at all).
After scanning every available airport shop, I learn that not a single one in Terminal E has baby pants. The best I can find is a short-sleeved onesie, which would be completely useless for our little one. I purchase an overpriced airport blanket and wrap my daughter in a swaddle that she quickly escapes.
At this point, I am angry and irritable.
I convince myself that this is a bad omen for the vacation. I have psyched myself out and put myself in a funk. And honestly, it was totally my fault. Why didn’t I pack multiple outfits for this girl? We have yet to find a diaper that can contain her. This was not the first time she over-filled her diaper, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
Wandering through the terminal, we find quick and unpalatable dinner options. Once settled in our seats at the gate, I retreat to Starbucks for my much-needed chai latte and try to gain some perspective.
I’m human. I packed two weeks of supplies and clothing for a toddler, a baby, and myself, and I all I forgot was an extra set of clothing.
I could continue to beat myself up, or I could put the bat down, pick the chai up, and enjoy myself and my family.
This is how my two-week vacation to the Azores began. Fortunately, I chose the latter option. And the remaining days went more smoothly than the first few hours.