the day “we took a bullet” for our son….. a humorous tale of traveling with children

So, my sister lives in New Jersey, and last year she got engaged. So, we traveled out to celebrate with her with my 8-year-old, 3 yr old, and 3 month old in tow. We made a 4-day trip out of it, complete with an engagement party, eating out in NY City, shopping and sightseeing.

On the day we were to travel back home, storms were coming through, and Newark airport was already cancelling flights for later that evening. My husband and I had to get home; we were both on call the next day. So, we called the airline and tried to get on stand-by. Well, no luck on the phone, they advised us to get to the airport to try and get an alternate flight. Ok, well with 3 kids, that was not going to happen quickly.

We began racing around my sister’s place, grabbing toys, and blankets, and bottles. We entrusted our oldest, our son, to grab the presents for the engagement and pack them in the suitcase, BIG MISTAKE.

We get to the airport, wait in line patiently with 3 kids, who had already lost their minds and were on their way to making us lose ours. We finally get to the counter and are told the 4 of us can get on the flight, but my husband had to wait. The ticket agent then separated us, told me to go on to the terminal and continued to work with my husband on another flight. BIG MISTAKE number 2.

So, I have stroller, diaper bag, DVD player, baby, three year old, and 8 yr old, so my husband takes the backpack for me and says see you at the terminal. Newark airport was under construction and I did not realize that the security stations had been changed, and ended up going through the wrong security line, which took 45 minutes, because now when you travel milk bottles end up being checked for explosives. So, now I have my baby, screaming at the top of her lungs, hungry because her milk is being checked for explosives, a 3 yr old who has to go potty who has the bladder of a 90 yr old woman, and my 8 yr old who is over it.

I find out that to avoid going through security again, I can take a shuttle over to the terminal I need to get to, and find myself with a bunch of traveling Japanese business men who speak no English, did not know where they were going either, but were happy to help me hoist up the stroller with a smile. I finally get to my gate, thinking my husband is going to be so worried.

My husband is not there? Why, where is he, I think? Did he get on another plane? No, the head of security at Newark airport was detaining him. Why you ask. Well here is how it went down. He placed the backpack that my son had packed onto the X-ray belt. Something suspicious showed up on the screen, they asked to do a bag check and my husband complied. Well, they could not find the object in the bag that they were seeing on the screen, so they did an explosive check, and it was positive.

My American born husband is now lead to a back room and interrogated about who he is traveling with, what he does for a living, etc. He states he is traveling with family, a family that is now on the other side of the airport. Security gives him a doubtful look, he then states he is a physician and can explain the mystery object. They tell him not to speak unless asked a question. Finally they let him produce the object from an inner pocket, a bullet keychain stamped INTREPID from the intrepid museum. It was my son’s souvenir, the one I told him to pack in the suitcase. The one we thought was a replica, no one told my husband that they used real old bullets that would test positive for explosives residue. They took my son’s souvenir and apologized to my husband, who finally showed up at the gate, and told me his harrowing tale.

We told our son that next time he was not allowed to pack!

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