I forgot to pick a category

Air Shows Are Not for the Weak

there they go!

I love air shows. My Dad took me when I was a kid. It was the best. I remember riding on his shoulders and craning my neck to see the planes doing their loopty-loos. I remember how contagious my Dad’s excitement about flying was. He’s always loved airplanes and because of that I love them too. I’m not as fond of flying myself but I do love a good show with noisy planes and exciting explosions.

When Toby and I were dating we went to a few air shows and that was a positive experience too. I’m still proud of the photos I took of the “Wall of FIRE” way back when. I was really excited to share all this with Baby Bug but mostly I was excited to be doing something together with Toby, as a family. He works so hard and there is never enough time to do all the things we want to do. So this was a really big deal. We’d been planning it for months.

You know what that means: expectations high; possibility of disappointment even higher. I think I was already expecting things to go badly before we even left. I hate it when I’m a pessimist like that. Hello, self-fulfilling prophecy.

hovering noise

We left late and then there was an accident on the freeway that put us behind a whole extra hour. The traffic sent Toby into a foul mood that I thought for sure would ruin our whole day. Lunchtime was spent in the car grumpily not eating. The beautiful family-togetherness picnic that I had planned for us turned into one person eating while the other held the crazy, no-napping, no-eating, climbing-on-everything toddler. Not exactly what I had been hoping for.

held apart by invisible steel rods

Between the beer-guzzling slobs sitting next to us and the testosterone-driven teenagers bounding up and down the bleachers on both sides of us, I was afraid we might get stepped on, spilled on or killed. It wasn’t a walk in the park. The planes were noisier than I remembered. I did not pack any sort of ear protection for Baby Bug so she was crying and covering her ears. I was feeling like crap because I couldn’t stop her ears from possibly being permanently damaged and even worse I couldn’t hear a thing she was trying to tell me.

ouchy ears

And then it rained on us! Which actually sort of panicked me. The thought of being part of a large rowdy crowd trying to get out of the rain while holding my sleeping toddler (who fell asleep in my arms at the beginning of the twilight show) really turned my protective mother-bear instincts up to full-gear. I could just see us being trampled and falling by the wayside into a muddy puddle, or worse: angry fans pressing us against a chain-link fence and we would all die a bloody death like those crazy soccer games you read about.

So there were a lot of negatives.

But you know what? As I look over my photos, I am remembering a lot of good things. We were together as a family. Toby wasn’t in a foul mood all day. In fact, he and Baby Bug had so much fun goofing off and discussing the events that it was impossible for me to hold onto my bad mood. I did my fair share of grumping but I laughed a lot too.

getting excited

I think it wasn’t until we were walking the five miles (it seemed) back to the car in the rain that I realized how much I love my little family and how happy they make me. I’m proud of them. We are troupers. We can miss half the show and walk five miles in the rain together. We are tough.

I felt invigorated by the walk. I should have been exhausted holding Baby Bug in my arms that long but I was actually proud of myself. I couldn’t put her in the stroller because it had gotten soaked in the downpour. It was really strange. I know she is a light child but still, walking that far with my arms locked should have done me in.

I was thinking about how my body was created for carrying my child. I might be horrible at swinging an axe and terrible at playing baseball but I can carry my kid for an hour without complaining.

no nap equals early bed time

Baby Bug woke up when the fireworks started and instead of being grumpy because her sleep schedule was out of whack, she was just happy to be with us. Over my shoulder she babbled on about every color as they flew into the sky. I may have missed the show but I got an earful from my most favorite narrator in the whole wide world.

I meant to blog about all the little things, like the man behind us who saw Baby Bug’s distress and handed us a pair of ear plugs without saying a word. How impressed with the Marines I am. How seamlessly they directed traffic out of the compound. How amazingly efficient every person was at his job. How the Blue Angels were even more amazing than I remembered…but it’s taken me way too long to write this post already. Maybe those sentiments were meant to be saved for another day.

the crinkly nose family

What I’m taking away from this is that my family is an efficient unit. We might be dealt some poor odds but we can still have a good time. Or at least some good times in the midst of a bunch of bad times.


Also Toby took a movie. :)


  • karen

    I haven’t been to an airshow since the summer of ’85, when two Blue Angels collided during the show in Niagara Falls, NY. Between that and Ross watching news coverage of the WTC crashes (when he was about BB’s age), I’m pretty sure an airshow would be outside my family’s nerve limits. I did like them, though – nothing beats the wonder of seeing the precision with which those pilots fly!

  • margalit

    My father, who was a B-24 pilot in WW2, used to take us as kids to air shows. I remember plugging my ears with napkins and kleenex because the noise was just too much for me. But I loved the shows, especially getting to get in the planes and see what the cockpits are like. VERY impressive as a kid.

    The last time I went to one, about 18 years ago, it was about 20000 degrees outside with not a cloud in the sky. On all that tarmac it was so desperately hot that I keeled over in a dead faint. They had to rescue me and put me in some shower thingy to cool me down. It wasn’t that great of a day!

  • bluejaye

    I left the comment about the head phones too late.
    Glad you had a great day.
    That picture of the 3 of you could be your holiday card this year!!!

  • Kirsten

    We have the International Airshow in London every year, or at least we did when I was growing up. I remember for the entire week before the show, the planes would be flying in, and the Snowbirds practicing their routines.

    My mom had the china shook out of our cupboards by the Blue Angels on multiple occasions :)

  • Jennifer

    Glad you had a great family day together. I learned with Emily that expectations and grading “good” or “bad” are dramatically different when you have a toddler in the mix. You kind of end up on a grading curve at that point :)

    I love all the happy family pictures. Bug sleeping is the cutest. I’m impressed with Toby’s video skills. I would have lost the planes early on. It’s easier for me to carry Molly long distances that Audrey nowadays. Go mom! :)

    Oh, I told Jeremy that you were impressed with the Marines and that made him smile.

  • Sarah

    After a bit of a rough start it sounds like you had a lovely day together. Come back and read this post again in a few days’ time – it’s great.

  • Gayle

    I love the part in this post where you talk about being built to carry your child. It brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes I miss those days when my kids where little enough to carry. But these days are good, too!

    The last photo of the three of you is so cute!

  • Donna

    Hey! We went to the air show too!! You must have gone on a different day, though. It never rained on us. We were there Saturday. Big, beautiful white clouds, but no rain. Nothing beats the thrill of those jets flying in those amazing formations! Glad everything worked out in the end.

    SAJ says: We did go on Saturday. It was a beautiful day for an air show. We just showed up late for the daytime show and then stayed for the night show. It was the night show that got rained out.

  • soleil

    Oh, I’ve always loved airshows!! That reminds me, I think we have one coming up here in TX this month too!

    That’s a great family pic of you guys! You all look so happy!!

    I’m glad the day turned out not be so bad after all.

  • Annabanana

    Despite all the little grumps in the road you guys are adorable!! Glad it turned out fine in the end and the moods were recovered. We would have had the same issues here….and the recovery…well with Dave you never know;-)

  • BeachMama

    Looks like the perfect family day to me. And sounds a lot like our family day to the Hills to look at the Fall Colours. It was a lot of work, but a wonderful day in the end.

  • Susan

    We just returned from Pensacola Florida which is home of the Blue Angels. They practice there on most Wednesday mornings so we were able to be there for that and it was amazing. I love it! Its like your own personal airshow since there is only about 100 people there and most of those are little kids from the local school. The museum is a lot of fun also and the pilots come in and sign autographs. Looks like you guys had a very good day despite a few mishaps…that’s just typical family! =)

  • carrien (she laughs at the days)

    We took our kids to the airshow this weekend too. And it was too loud for the baby and she clung to me. But their favorite part was climbing around inside all the planes and humvies sp? that they had for the public to explore. And vonage was handing out free ear plugs.

    They are very stern yet friendly those marines, especially at quittin’ time I’ve never seen a crowd leave so efficiently before.