A little bit of light on a late night flight


Graphic by Sophia Di Iorio

Sarah Rogoz, Opinion Editor

It’s roughly 10:30 p.m. on a Sunday night, and it’s finally time to board my Southwest flight home from St. Louis. Still jet-lagged from my previous flight, the two-hour delay on my current flight put me in an even worse mood. I didn’t want to think about the two and a half hours of homework I still had to complete, and I was truly homesick.

I slump down in the first window seat I can find and brace myself for another hour of turbulence and stress. I began to regret going on this trip in the first place.

In the midst of these thoughts, a young mother holding a crying one-year-old stops next to my row of seats. Like any other traveler on a late night flight, “please pass my row,” clouds my mind. I look up and make eye contact with the young mom right as she asks those four terrifying words seemingly in slow motion.

“Is this seat taken?” she asks, eyes wide with desperation. I shake my head and immediately turn to the window. Due to my inability to reject anyone or anything face-to- face, I cost myself an hour plane ride next to an irritable baby.

I settle back into my seat, hoping to catch a couple Z’s. Right as my eyes close I get a tap on the shoulder. Karen, the young mom sitting next to me, points at a fallen stuffed animal and whispers, “Could you grab that for me?” Annoyed, I reach down and return the toy to her daughter.

“Hi!” the young child nearly screams as I settle back into my seat. As I look over, she is smiling ear to ear and waving at me. I smile back and give a little wave, and I feel a pang of guilt as I was so bothered when they first sat down.
Karen then introduced herself and her daughter Ava, and explained how this was only her second time flying with her. She explained her nerves about flying with such a young child, and I began to sympathize with her.

The entire conversation with her mother, Ava was looking at me and smiling. She started giggling an irresistible baby laugh, and let me tell you, my heart melted.

I spent the duration of the flight playing with young Ava, and I felt a sense of ease. Karen even asked if I wanted to hold her, and I didn’t protest. Having a baby on your lap really forces you to live in the moment.

Ava, although irritated at first, was a happy child. The only care in her world was making sure her mom was close and her teddy bear was even closer. Whatever happened five minutes before or five minutes after didn’t matter, she was only focused on the now. It’s crazy how much a one year old could teach me.

Before Ava sat beside me, it was hard to even smile. I was so focused on the work I had to complete later that I let it take whatever was left of my happiness and turn it into stress. However, after the flight I had an extra pep in my step and was wide awake besides it being nearly midnight.

Every person deals with stressful situations differently. At times it seems like too much, and the world is against you. But next time you are in a tough scenario, pretend you’re just like a one year old. Start focusing on what’s happening right now, in the moment, and your life could get a whole lot happier.