This is the story of the greatest tantrum I have ever thrown.
Yes, I am a twenty-seven-year-old woman.
It was the day we returned from Perth; one of the longest days in history, second only to the day we left. We had suffered through an hour and a half delay at the departure gate. We had survived the four-hour plane journey to Melbourne. We had managed to herd four dawdling children through the airport to the luggage collection point. And that, my friends, is where it all goes wrong.
Boo and I rush over to collect our bags while Benji grabs the pram from oversized luggage. We quickly fish them off the conveyer belt and arrange ourselves. I had the baby in one arm and a stack of hand luggage to balance too, so this took some time. I glance over at Benji. He’s holding a short black pole in his hand. It was part of our pram: a vital piece that transforms it from a single to a double, and it was supposed to be part of a pair. We quickly returned to the others and dumped the bags at their feet.
“We’re missing a stick,” Benji greets us.
“You’re shitting me!” I reply.
We’ve hauled arse all the way here, and now we’re without our double pram. The heck are we going to do?
We stand around and watch a few more items side into the bay. The kids are rowdy and fascinated by the conveyer belts, fast becoming hazardous. Benji finally flags down a staff member; a rather perky lady more than happy to help. She arranged someone to go and check out back for us; we were going to be here awhile. She and my husband are having a chat and a laugh while they wait, and I’m starting to fume. We’re in the middle of the luggage collection; I have a baby in a pram which I am abandoning periodically to round up kids, forcing them to sit on the floor and holding their arms as they struggle to get away. This needs to end soon before someone gets hurt. A man pops his head back through the ‘oversized luggage’ door.
“Can’t find it. I’ve looked everywhere, through all the crates. Sorry.”
And that was our last hope. The lady suggested we fill in some forms, so the airline can reimburse us for the part we will have to order. I suggest Benji go alone, and immediately regret it.
Smash is yelling at me. He wants to go join dad and Boo, but I’ve said no. He’ll get lost if he wanders off now. Smash decides to take vengeance, hiding behind signs next to the conveyer belt. I start counting down.
“FIVE. FOUR. THREE.
Do you want to use the DS in the car?
TWO. There will be no movies or DS or anything if you don’t come back here now!
ONE. I mean it, Smash.
ZERO. RIGHT. DONE.”
I drag him back over, holding his wrists above his head. I’m aware that I’ve left the baby alone in the pram again, along with our luggage. The toddler is running around shrieking too, threatening to touch the conveyer belts.
“Look!” I shout, pointing at the signage all around the bottom of the belts.
“See what it says? ‘Keep children away.’ You can get hurt. Stop touching.”
But it was no good. They continued to run circles around me, back and forth to the conveyer belts, which were threatening to move at any second. So I pick up a screaming Smasher until Benji returned.
I was the crazy mum at the end of her rope in the middle of the airport; shedding angry tears and hoping no fellow travellers had decided to start filming the ordeal. I see Benji and Boo wandering back over, and angrily motion at them to hurry. My tantrum hadn’t even begun.
Benji reaches us and I thrust Smash at him. I kick a bag in his direction and grab the pram, which is overloaded with our carry-on luggage. I then pick up the toddler and head for the exit. A brief glimpse of Benji’s face showed he was baffled. I made sure Boo was following and continued to storm out. We reach the long term parking, and took the lift. We were in the wrong section. Benji asks what we should do, and I blow my lid.
“I’m not talking to you. And I’m not talking to him. And I don’t fucking care how any of us get home,” I hissed at him.
We circle back into the lift, and head to the other set of elevators. The kids fight over who gets to press the button. Benji’s phone rings.
“Hello? Oh hi, Jane,” he says.
I roll my eyes.
“No, we haven’t left. I’ll be right over.”
It was the lady from luggage, she has our spare part. So Benji leaves me with the pram again, this time taking Smasher. The toddler and Boo are restless, and I just want to get the heck out of here. Benji returns with Smash and the missing piece, and we travel up to the car. I walk ahead of the others, desperate to get away. We load everything into the car, and I step away to gather myself. The kids fight and shriek as Benji gets them organised. I don’t want to get in the car. I don’t want to go home. I don’t want to be with them for another second. To be honest, the edge of this car park is a tempting place to jump from.
Benji comes over and apologises.
“Why don’t you go back and flirt with Jane?” I say.
“Really? Is that what happened?”
“Yep. That’s exactly what happened.” To be honest, I have no idea what’s happened any more. I’m just pissed.
“I don’t want to get in the car.”
“Uh, so where are you going to go?”
“I don’t know. I have friends. I’ll go see them,” I snap.
“Well, if you need space, we can give you a lift. Do you want that?”
I’m pretty sure you could see steam hiss from my ears at this point.
“…I’ll fucking go home and pack my stuff then.” I storm off to the car and slam the door behind me.
We drove in silence for the first half hour or so. I thought I was going to be mad forever. Eventually I simmered down; apologies were made, and we were wearily back to normal. I admit I behaved poorly,;though in my defence, this is the first time in seven years with Benji that I have properly blown a fuse. I should probably bake him a cake or something. Regardless, I don’t think he’ll be taking me back to an airport any time soon.
Have you behaved badly on holidays? I want to hear your story! Share with me in the comments, or over on the Facebook page.