Second to actually giving birth, one of the most painful experiences a parent goes through has got to be taking their baby through an airport. Okay, perhaps “painful” is a slight exaggeration. But seriously — it’s up there. Parents of one or more kids definitely know what I’m talking about here. But can you imagine going through an airport with twins? Seems like enough to make you want to stay home.
So last week, when Clint Edwards spotted two “parenting champs” at a Spokane, Washington airport — handling their twin babies like absolute bosses — he couldn’t remain silent. Edwards, a dad of three, Babble contributor, and writer behind No Idea What I’m Doing: A Daddy Blog, immediately snapped a photo and wrote a tribute to the parents on his Facebook page, which went swiftly viral in just a few days.
“I can’t help but notice this couple,” Edwards wrote. “I’ve watched them for awhile. I hope they don’t mind me posting this,” wrote Edwards in his post. “They have two small children, possibly twins. One is crying, and the mother is giving the baby comfort. The other needed a diaper change, so the dad is diving in. He didn’t hesitate. Before that, both kids waddled off into the restaurant. The mother caught them, while the dad was busy breaking down the stroller. They look a little frazzled. Their flight is about to leave. But they are handling it.”
The photo shows the mother holding one of the babies, while the father seems to be busy himself, concentrating on Kid No. 2 with a full game-face on. Edwards continued:
“This is what parenting looks like. If you two are out there, reading this, I want you to know that you are kicking ass. Taking kids to the airport sucks so bad, and yet you are working as a team. I’ve been there sooo many times, and I know that it can feel like you are loosing it [sic]. That you are failing at this whole parenting gig. But from my opinion, as a father of three, you are doing it.
As parents, I think it’s good to hear that you are doing something right. And nothing can feel more wrong than taking small kids to the airport, or out to dinner, or to the mall, or to any other number of stressful parenting situations. And in that moment, when you’re knee deep in a steaming hot public toddler meltdown, it can feel like you are failing. But you know what, you’re not. If you are there, and you are caring for your children, you are doing exactly what you should.
So parents kicking ass at the airport in this picture, I hope you had a safe and fit-free flight. And I hope you realize how awesome of a job you are doing.”
Not only did Edward’s post receive over 6K likes, but news of it actually made its way back to the mother in the photo, Christie Bienemann of Burlingame, California, who recognized herself and commented.
“Thank you for the post!” Bienemann wrote. “This was my husband and I with our almost 14-month-old twins! Traveling with little ones is definitely NOT easy and we were pretty exhausted, not gonna lie! Appreciate the encouragement!”
Bienemann tells Babble that the photo was actually taken just five minutes before their flight started to board.
“While we were folding the stroller and packing it in the bag that was seemingly two sizes too small, the twins decided to practice their running skills and bolted into the nearby restaurant,” she explains. “After I scooped them up and handed our son Braxton to my husband, he noticed that he had a ‘fresh’ diaper. We scrambled for a few seconds. ‘Should we change him now or on the plane? Do we have enough time?’ I ran up to the gate to let them know what we were up against. The folks at Alaska were totally cool and told us to take our time,” she explains.
Wow. Clearly, these two have it down.
“Oh, and I should mention this was our third flight in two days,” says Bienemann.
“The first … was 36 hours earlier when we flew from San Francisco to Seattle at 5:50 AM!” Bienemann continues. “After we landed in Boise, we knew we had a car to rent and a 2-hour drive to meet our friends for a vacation (with 8 adults and 11 kids) so we knew that we were far from over with our traveling schedule.”
In case you have the same question I do at this point — who does this?! — Bienemann made it clear that they’re used to it. They’ve actually been flying with their twins since they were 6 weeks old — and now at 14 months, this was their babies’ sixth flight. “And we have two more trips planned for summer!” she adds.
Absolutely amazing. Still, despite their obvious parenting ninja status, Bienemann says she and her husband still struggle not to compare themselves to other parents who seem to have it all together, especially those with just one kid.
“We see our friends seem to do things so swiftly and calmly with one child, and we always need to remind ourselves that we are in a totally different situation,” she tells Babble.
And certainly, Edwards himself is no stranger to the parenting game, having three kids of his own — but understandably even he had to tip his hat to the Bienemanns in that moment, which must have been a much-needed pat on the back after an obviously harrowing day (or make that week).
Nevertheless, this traveling family of four has been taking it all in stride.
“As hard as it can be some days, we feel so so so grateful,” says Bienemann. “Chaos and all!”