Monday, March 7, 2011

Rising to the Challenge....

If you've been through the American Airlines terminal at Chicago O'Hare recently, you may have caught the half-size replica of the famous Abraham Lincoln statue from The Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.  It was created by Fran Volz.  The statue measures 10 1/2 feet tall by 9 feet wide and is made out of recyclable materials.  I happened upon this exhibit around hour five of my "day of fun" at O'Hare.  And "day of fun" is dripping in sarcasm my friends!

Last Friday I was up and packed and waiting for the taxi with kids and luggage, snacks, a bag of tricks, books, stickers, and lots of sugar "treats."  Luckily, my flight was cancelled before I even left the house.  I was disappointed, Lauren cried, and we moved on.  I was able to call the taxi and reschedule.  I was left with that weird feeling of "I was intending to do this and now it's canceled."  Switch gears!  That's what mom's do best!  One less day to spend with my sister and her family.  But I kept trying to look on the bright side.  I wasn't stuck in an airport all day with two kids.  (ha!  YET.)

So my rescheduled flight meant getting up at the crack of dawn.  (not my favorite thing at all!)  The taxi would be here at 7:00 a.m.  I went to bed at my usual time of 11:00 p.m. but woke at 2:30 a.m. and every hour thereafter until I turned off my alarm at 5:15 a.m. and realized I didn't really need that much time.  So I stayed in bed until 6:00 a.m.  I was a groggy, tired mess working on adrenaline.  I have traveled with the kids by myself many times, but Evan is two now so I was required to buy him his own seat.  He's a boy.  He's a little wild, crazy and inquisitive.  I had prepped him all week that when we get on the plane he needed to stay in his seat and stay buckled.  He told me all week "airplane-buckled-momma."  Sure!

By 8:00 a.m. we were through security and waiting at our gate.  This is so easy!  I'm such a pro!  Evan was already a disastrous mess covered in PB&J. (note to self:  navy blue shows everything and forgo the jelly next time!)  I then received a text telling me my gate and departure time.  I smiled and thought, "I'm here!"  Literally minutes later I got another text telling me the flight was cancelled. (I highly recommend these text alerts!)  I was really confused and walked up to talk to the gate agent.  I was first in line as they had not made the official announcement yet.  The gate agent did not seem interested in helping me and wanted to wait until after the announcement was made.  Are you familiar with this announcement? One of the airline  people get on that little microphone and tell you that the rest of your day is royally messed up....all mumbly and garbled.  Sure, it's not that big of a deal if you don't have two kids with you.  I'd happily have read my book and hit the bar sans kids!

I've found that when traveling alone with the kids people are very kind and helpful.  When the gate agent took a closer look and saw the kids he helped me out.  I was on stand-by for the next flight at 11:30 a.m. but was for sure booked on the 1:30 p.m. flight.  HURT ME.  May I remind you that it's now maybe 8:30 a.m?

Since flights were cancelled the day before I knew it was a joke to think we'd get on the earlier flight.  But I had to try.  I had to herd around with all the other people wanting to get to where they wanted to go.  I let Evan free from his stroller while we sat and waited.  He was good for a few minutes harassing all the good-natured people sitting around us.  He then took off like a bat out of hell and I literally dropped everything to sprint after him and grab the little animal.  Evan thought it was hilarious.  I told him his freedom was revoked for the rest of the airport time!  Stroller city sweetheart!  ( got that right!)

When the sign at the gate told me that the flight was full and I was out of luck I calculated how much time I had left in the stinkin' airport.  This is when warrior mom kicked in.  Lauren was near tears just wanting to get to her cousin Liam.  She was also concerned that our flights would keep being cancelled.  I dug deep and gave us a pep talk.  It went something like this, "Okay, this situation is not fun and I'm not happy either but what can we do?  If we want to go on this trip we have to suck it up and wait a little longer.  We need to take a walk and get a snack."

I want to send out a huge thank you to the genius who decided to put children's museums inside airports.  The kids were able to run around and blow off steam before we boarded the plane.

Shortly after my pep talk, Lauren said, "Mom, I know I can do this."  I kept telling the kids how proud I was of them and what good travelers they were.  Lauren is obsessed with Paris and all things Paris.  She talks about the Eiffel Tower and what she will eat when we go there.  I told her this "day of fun" in the airport proves that she can take an international flight and handle the ups and downs of travel.  As I rose to the occasion, I saw the kids do the same.  Despite my frustration and weariness of the day, I knew the kids were looking to me for direction.  When I put on a happy face, so did they.
We finally (whew!) had a safe flight and a wonderful week with my sister.  Our flight home was completely uneventful and we couldn't have been happier!

1 comment:

  1. You are a fabulous mama :) They do feed off your emotions but it's not always easy to put on that "happy face"....even for your little ones. Glad you made it, had a great weekend with sis, and shared the story. I will read it again before I start our(just the girls and I) journey from Delhi to Cincinnati via Newark...ugh. Any chance of making a trip to OH in the first couple weeks of June??