It’s time to be truthful. Sometimes, in travels, it isn’t fun. Sometimes, in traveling, it is stressful and tiring and can lead me to tears. Sometimes, on our trips, I think why are we doing this? Yesterday, well, yesterday was one of those days.
We left yesterday for our week long adventure in Seattle and Vancouver. I was already feeling a little stressed because I am not a good packer. At all. And I struggle with this on every trip I take. I pack too much and it means we have too many bags and I just don’t know how to pare it all down so instead we have learned how to maneuver with too many bags and not enough hands.
I mean, I may need 3 black shirts and an extra pair of jeans and shoes just in case, right? Don’t even get me started on the kids clothes. I did really well this time to only pack them 3 pairs of pajamas each. And, we have access to a washer and dryer every day of this trip. So, there you go.
Anywhoo, it generally takes about 25 minutes or so to get to the airport, and while we would love to utilize our public transportation (because, let’s be honest, pretty much the only thing Atlanta’s public transport has going for it is the train to the airport, sadly) it is really difficult with a stroller, 3 suitcases, 2 car seats, 2 kids and several carry on bags. We enlisted my parents to help us get there so we didn’t have to leave our car for a week, and as we entered the highway, 2 and a half hours before our flight time, with my parents and F several cars behind us, we came to a complete deadlock, with brake lights as far as we could see.
I immediately called my parents and told them that whatever they do they needed to avoid the highway, and take a different route. My husband, who was beating himself up for not checking the traffic ahead of time like the anally retentive guy he usually is, was trying to figure out the best way for us to get off the highway and take it from there. Unfortunately for us the exit we planned on taking was closed, with no prior notification before the exit, and after that there were no more exits for several miles. Thanks Atlanta, your public transport sucks and your highways suck and your decision to do major roadworks, thus closing down 3 out of 6 lanes on a Saturday where there are road races, summer vacation-ers, and a Braves game, well, that decision sucks. You can see how I felt about it.
There were tears involved, all from me, and a super negative attitude that ended in the knowledge we were going to miss our flight, also from me. There were also some words. Lots of words. It took us almost an hour to get off the highway, at which point we relied on google maps to lead us through parts of Atlanta I have never spent much time in, and finally to the airport, with 45 minutes to spare before our flight time.
My parents and F had been there, so we did a complete puzzle of hopping out of our car, my dad parking it, meeting my mom and F in the airport where we took advantage of my parents Diamond Medallion Delta status and got checked in right away. And, thanks to the generosity of several strangers in security, who saw 2 frazzled parents, a sick 5 year old and an adorable 2 year old and let us go first, and even helped me get all our bags when Lee had to take F to the bathroom. Sometimes the kindness of people can start to make it all better.
We made it onto the plane-train with about 30 minutes to spare, and once it got to Concourse A I was feeling pretty good, only one stop to go, and then it stopped. And just sat. And sat. And sat. I started to feel nauseous. Once it started moving I could breathe again.
We raced through the airport, with about 25 minutes until take off, with Lee pushing F in the stroller because he was too sick to walk, and me holding L’s hand and making her little legs run at double speed, which is not easy for a 2 year old to do. We made it to the gate, walked down the jetway, and knew we were okay.
The one benefit to getting on the plane late means less time to sit while waiting to take off, even though I had to store our bag, filled with the snacks, about 10 rows ahead of us, with Lee. We sat down, amongst a family heading out to go on an Alaskan cruise, including a 2 year old boy that L befriended, and we took off. Straight into 45 minutes of turbulence.
So now I am smelly from running and sweating, flustered from racing to make the plane, scared because I really hate turbulence, and for 45 minutes all I heard was ‘Mommy, nutha snack? Mommy, more snacks? More snacks mommy. MORE SNACKS MOMMY’. Since I couldn’t get to the big snack bag I found every last thing left in my purse and she ate it all. Eventually we got the ‘real’ snacks and life was good, and quiet, again.
At this point I am thinking the flight is going pretty well. We are out of the bad weather, scheduled to land early, L was happily watching Yo Gabba Gabba and coloring, and I finally had a chance to go the bathroom. Which meant I had to take her with me, but since we were 2 rows from the back it wasn’t a big deal. We squeezed into the bathroom, and when we left walked up ahead of us about 15 rows to see Lee and F. At which point I hear lots of laughter and a nice woman kindly points out I have toilet paper hanging out of my pants.
I could have died. Actually on any other day I probably would have died. But I was so tired I just couldn’t muster up the energy to care. I laughed it off, chalked it up to just one more thing that happened, and called it a day. Not really, but I felt like it.
And then the rest of the flight happened, we landed, got our car, got our tired children to the apartment we rented, realized we are about 15 years too old to be hanging out in the area our flat is in, and went to sleep. Sleep is a great answer, because when I woke up? It was a new day, in an awesome city, and I was ready to take on Seattle.
Sometimes, despite the travails of traveling, even on a day when you wonder why why why, you hear your kids giggling about the day to come, and it is all worth it, even when you previously thought it wouldn’t be. When you wake up and look around you, at your happy kids, rested despite their jet lag, staying in a clean, safe, nice apartment, in a city across the country from your very own, you realize that you are lucky to have these opportunities, and a day of suffering is worth the outcome.