Flew to Helsinki this evening. On a flight with free wifi (Norwegian Air) and a lot of kids. Three little kids just in front. Two younger boys with a slightly older sister who kind of policed them. With a good dose of pummelling, cuddling and arguing. Carefully watched over by their mum across the aisle. Tablets, snacks, learning the Koran (via headphones) and cheeky computer games as the flight went on.
A little girl on the right across the aisle with her mum. And a super cute babe with his mum and dad next to me. Seats 8A, B and C.
A three hour flight. The three kids in front were pretty self sufficient other than the odd headphone war. The little girl to the right slept for most of the flight. She woke when her mum went to toilet, howled briefly, was pacified by her mum who lost her place in the loo queue. Beaten by a man who disappeared for a record amount of time only matched by the smells that emerged with him.
The couple I sat next to operated a pretty much three hour work station between them. Food, cuddles, big white soft toy, love, food, singing, blanket, books, big white soft toy, food, dummy, love, more food. He chuckled, played with the seat table, looked out of the window with excitement, studied the menu, looked at a London guidebook, had a whine, chucked his dummy on the floor, batted the books away, cried, chucked his dummy away again, rocked with frustration, howled and fell asleep.
His mum kissed his bare feet.
I thought about the kids when they were tots. About that constant space of love, devotion, work, despair, public service, frustration, absorption, protection and completeness. In between, I read a book about experiences of social change over time (stories from disabled people born in the 1940s, 1960s and 1980s).
I wondered (again) how the hell we got into a situation in which we took, and left, LB in that hell hole.