Toddler Travels, home at last
Updated: Nov 14, 2019
Well, hello! Welcome back to the kitchen table. Have a coffee…and hear how mine and the kid's trip finally ended up.
Yep. I had planned to get to church in time for your dad’s first day on the job but had, hours ago, acquiesced to the fact that I was going to miss that. However, I couldn’t miss that flight back home because your Aunt Kasey was having your cousin via c-section on Monday and I wasn’t about to miss that. At the same moment the lady looked at me, I became aware of a low, growling, whine which begin to curl its way up from the stroller. I heard you Abigail, and I braced to be hit as your decibel count increased exponentially. You had finally become aware that your bottle was missing. Even though this was the moment I’d been dreading, it worked together for our good because the intensity of your scream/yell/growl somehow lit a new fire in the lady that was “helping” us get to a plane. In a matter of seconds, you reached fever pitch and our newly-concerned lady seemed to jump a bit, which inspired me to look at her nonchalantly and say “We lost her bottle last night sometime during the return to the gate” and I smiled. She quickly decided she could get us onto a plane, and do it she did. I almost wanted to pinch you, sweet girl, just to keep the scream going. With our new, but later, flight assignments almost in-hand, a tall stately lady dressed in a blue suit with long black hair had walked up to the desk. I got the feeling she was just monitoring her department…but as she looked our tickets over, she said “They can’t be on this flight, it’s overbooked now. They’ll have to be on standby.” With you still screaming, Abbey, I interjected the seemingly private discussion between the blue-suited lady and the casual woman and said directly and with purpose “Excuse me, Ma’am. I’m going to the Gift Shop to seek out a bottle for this poor baby. When I get back, I need – desperately – to have a ticket that will allow me to board a plane for Columbia THIS MORNING with these two babies so that I can meet all of my obligations.” With that said, I turned, gripping the stroller tighter than before and we three walked away. We walked to three gift shops, all of whom had formula, diapers, wipes, Infant Tylenol, pacifiers and plastic-covered spoons, but no bottles. My time had run out for the ticket because it was about 7:15. I walked back to the “help” desk and screaming baby in tow said to my blue-suited lady, with a smile, “So?” Before she could speak, a stern but helpful blonde woman stepped in and said “The first person you spoke with this morning didn’t know about the extra flight that had been scheduled for your cancelled flight from last night. The extra flight for you is not listed on the gate monitors.” All I could think was “Wow”. The blue-suited lady handed me three tickets and said “You need to go, your plane is boarding in five minutes”. Naturally.
So, with gratefulness and haste, I said a quick “thank you” (because I really did appreciate the work they’d done) and I yanked our stroller around and picked you up, Benji. We were on the run now for certain. Harried, and without even trying to find it myself, I spotted a janitor who was just passing by, and decided to ask him where I could get in line for the Security Check, which I was dreading with all my heart. That moment would have been ideal to hear some of that eery organ music that plays in the movies which always indicates a looming terror; I could only see the middle of the check-in line and it was long, with no beginning and no end. I estimated that there would indeed end up being another flight for us as I reached my hand out to tap the janitor on the shoulder… Because God “goes before us and is our rear guard”, because we were trusting Him, that unremarkable janitor turned sweetly to me and said, as I asked, “Girl, you got a strolla’, go ‘round that corna’ to strolla’ check-in” and he smiled, as if he had been there when you’d done your first Security Check, Abb’s! As I happily turned to go “round that corna’”, the tall blue-suited lady from the help desk ran up behind me and said “Ma’am, Ma’am!” Before I could fully turn around she handed me a baby bottle full of milk. The feeling that gesture gave me was so extraordinary. I took the bottle and hugged the blue-suited lady right there in the airport in the middle of the mess. It was precious. Abigail, you grabbed that bottle from me with great vigor; I almost lost a finger. Yep. You’d been crying for almost two solid hours. Ben, you finally took your hands down from your ears and we all RAN to the Stroller Check-In. Though God had shown himself consistently already, I laughed out loud when we were at the check-in for FOUR MINUTES with no crying and no unkind security agents. Once we had side-stepped that landmine, the three of us raced to the People Mover which was now open and running. We jumped on – you pushed the buttons Ben (always time for little boys to be the man) – and we were off. We exited at Terminal T, and ran to our gate where the ticket taker said “Oh! You must Benjamin and Abigail. Hurry up!!” They were closing the door.
We walked onto the plane and were met by a friendly gentleman flight attendant who was preparing food! But on such a short flight, it wasn’t for us, it smelled good though. Nonetheless, we sat down with you Abbey on my lap and you Ben tucked in beside me. The man approached and said “She has to be in a seat of her own” and walked away. I ignored him. He came back. “She has to be in a seat of her own” to which this time I said of you , sweet girl, “She is going to melt down if I’m not holding her – we’ve had a very rough morning.” I looked at you , Ben and you were holding back tears. I wondered what thoughts must be going through your mind. I smiled at you and pulled you closer. You were fine in a minute. Though I had expected to get my way with the flight attendant, it wasn’t to be. That kind, but firm, man swerved around and leaned over our seat and said softly, “There is a $500 charge to ME if I am found allowing a baby to sit in their grandmother’s lap during take off. I’m not going to pay that. You will each be in your own seat for take-off and landing or you can take another flight later which I am not supervising.” With that, he nodded politely and walked away. Ugh. I honored his position in spite of the fact that no one, so far, on this trip had bothered with this rule. I looked at you Benji and said “Hey Ben, do you want to be a big ole boy and sit across the aisle from Grandma?” You said “Sure!” With great relief and thanks to the Mighty hand that was clearly on you from Heaven, I put you in your seat across the aisle and you fell promptly to sleep. Abigail, you handled your own seat beautifully as well.
Our flight was smooth and short. When we landed, and all our luggage – stroller, backpacks, etc., were in place and ready to go with us. There was one little bathroom incident that just had to happen, but you can ask me about that one day.
We deboarded in Columbia, South Carolina and I called your mom to let her know we were finally there. She hadn’t seen or hugged either of you for two weeks and her night before had, no doubt, been acutely distressing as she likely just wanted her babies in her arms.
As we turned the corner from the terminal, I saw her pretty face there (your dad was already at his first day of work at your new church – which is the reason we had planned to be here on Saturday in the first place) looking intently for you both. Then Ben, like a radar, you saw your mom first and ran to her. Through her own tears and excitement, she snapped this picture…
People who had traveled with us through the night were also relieved to see you both finally united with your mom. One lady had tears in her eyes as she smiled good-bye to me.
The night was by no means, or in any way, a tragedy, but it could have been. Many things could have gone wrong or terribly. The list is long. As you read this story of ours though my sweet babes, remember that the God we humbly serve knows the number of hairs on our heads, and because of that we can know that He cares all about us, about the small things and the big things. Trust in Him as you grow and in all of your inconveniences. When you choose to consistently rely on Him, you’ll find that in the midst of your greatest upheavals and trials, you won’t have to grope around for His answers or His comfort - He’ll be there already.
What a great night, what a fantastic adventure with my wonderful grandpeople.
I love you very much. –Sweet Grandma
Thanks for sitting with me for a bit, around the kitchen table. See you soon!