I’m sitting on a plane flying across the country and I’m realizing how much discomfort we can deal with in a very civilized way when we choose to.  Think about it.  We cram into a large metal container, sitting closer to a stranger than we’d like to, especially when said stranger doesn’t have the same appreciation for deodorant as we do.  It seems crazy, no? 

This particular plane has seven seats across and just looking at the seats within two rows of me, I can see five different ethnic backgrounds, a couple bald heads, one with dreadlocks, a woman sleeping with her mouth open, a couple guys talking loudly enough for me to hear every boring word, two very unhappy babies, someone eating something out of a very crackly bag, two barefoot people, and…a guy diagonally across the aisle from me who keeps picking his nose…really, I’m not kidding.  And…lovely…he just flicked it…then reached for the latch of his table tray.  Yuck!

We are all different and all doing our own (in some cases, disgusting) things.  We probably prefer different temperatures so during the flight some people will turn their air on, others off, some will wear jackets, some will sweat, and others will cover up with blankets.  Some people will drown out all other noise listening to headphones, some will read, some will talk, others will do puzzles or work, and some will sleep.  Some people will bring their own food to eat, while others will buy a meal or snack onboard. 

The bottom line is that we all co-exist here, in this cramped, uncomfortable space with all of our habits and preferences and idiosyncracies and differences.  We might be annoyed by loud-talkers, smelly foods, crying babies or nose-pickers, but we won’t fight about it.  We usually won’t even say anything.  Regardless of what we think of one another as we move toward our destination, we all sit, primarily poker-faced, sometimes friendly or even helpful, but typically keeping our thoughts to ourselves. 

Most of us will simply do our own thing and accept the situation as it is.  Why?  Because it’s worth it to us!  The convenience of flying from one coast to another in a few hours is worth being uncomfortable, or even a little pissed, right?

So answer this: what is your child’s well-being worth to you?  Can you stand a little discomfort now and then, a few awkward situations when you’re in the presence of someone you’d rather not hang out with?  How awful is it?  Really.  Is it about like listening to screaming babies while a grown man picks his nose and flicks it right in front of you?  Then deal with it.  Be civilized.  Don’t fight over it. 

Think about the end result, the destination.  Yours is a happy, well-adjusted child who looks up to you and feels safe.  Isn’t that what you want?  Then don’t create unnecessary turbulence on the way there.  But definitely make the trip – it is so worth it!!