Saturday, June 2, 2012

Airport Adventures

Thursday was a travel day for us.  We were heading out to visit my parents in Tennessee, then to Maryland to see lots of extended family, and then to New Jersey for my brother Josh and his fiancee Kristi's wedding!!!  We've been really looking forward to this trip and had gotten as prepared as we felt we could be, but were a little uncertain how the day would be, traveling with both little ones!  Elijah flew several times last summer as a just-turned-one-year-old, and the short flights were good, and the long (international) flights were quite trying.  Obviously, this was going to be Ellie's first flights, so we just knew it could be an adventure getting the four of us through the day.  Little did we know, the day certainly was full of adventure, but not for the reasons we really anticipated!  It truly was a day of several small (but felt big to us!) miracles!

Our departure was from Dallas at 11am.  It's supposed to take 3.5 hours from College Station to make that drive, but we expected traffic to slow us down and wanted to make it to the airport in enough time to not be stressed about missing our flight, but we also knew Elijah would probably not nap on the plane and wanted him to get as much sleep before we left as possible.  We decided to get up at 5am and leave as quickly as possible, really aiming for 5:30.  We got out the door at 5:36 (yay!) and did well for the first hour, but before we got to Waco we ran into an incredible storm.  The rain was falling SOOOO hard it was really scary to drive in.  We had very poor visibility and there was a lot of water on the roads.  Obviously we slowed down but became concerned about 1)arriving safely and 2)making our flight!  I texted my family and asked them to pray, and almost immediately the rain lessened significantly, the clouds parted, the sun broke through and we felt much safer.  It seriously felt like an immediate result of the prayers!

We continued driving and praying that we would make our flight.  We had no idea how much traffic to expect or even if our google maps drive time estimate was correct, but we were cutting it close.  I don't know how it happened, but we made it in PLENTY of time to the parking place, were 10 min early for the shuttle we were hoping to catch, and got to the airport quickly.  We checked in and got through security with right about an hour before our flight, so we grabbed breakfast sandwiches from a fast food place in the airport and barely had time to scarf them down before they called us for boarding!

Our first flight ended up sitting on the runway for a while, so we were 40 minutes late getting out of Dallas, and then they were "turning the airport around" for our layover in Atlanta, so we had to circle above the airport for another 40 minutes before landing.  The flight actually had made up the time for being late leaving, which was great, but then with the holdup in Atlanta, we realized we may not make our connecting flight to Tennessee.  We watched the minutes tick by and got more and more nervous!  Finally, we landed, and we hurried our way out of the back of the plane 20 minutes before our next flight was scheduled to depart...two terminals over!!!  Several people on our flight were missing connections, so they had said over the loudspeaker to go to the customer service desk and they'd tell us what flight we got rescheduled on instead, but James and I decided we were just going to try to make it.  The airport in Bristol, TN, we fly into is a tiny one, and we weren't sure how long we'd have to wait for the next flight.   Soooo...we RAN for it.

Sweet little Elijah in his adorable Buzz Lightyear backpack gets slower if you try to rush him, so James scooped him up, and I was wearing Ellie in the Moby Wrap.  We all had backpacks on and I was pulling a rolling purple carry-on suitcase.  We RAN through the terminal, jumped on the train connecting terminals, up and down escalators, and found the right terminal.  Sadly, the train let us off at gate 30ish and our flight was leaving from the very last gate, 57!  James took over pulling the purple suitcase (he was already holding Elijah!), I cradled Ellie in my arms around the Moby, and we sprinted for the end of that terminal!  At one point, Elijah's sippy cup went flying out of his backpack, and a kind stranger picked it up and tried to hand it to James, who had no more hands free, but I ran up behind and was like, "I'll take it, I'm with them!" as we ran by!  Elijah at first thought it was hilarious and was peering at my over James' shoulder laughing as we ran, though by the end he did not find it so amusing and was whimpering as James' grip was slipping!

Finally, gate 57 entered our view and we were just thinking, "Don't leave us!!!"  We saw the gate attendants look up and point at us from a distance, and we were so relieved, "They saw us!  They won't leave us!!!"  They start beckoning to us, "Come on, come on!" (Like we weren't OBVIOUSLY already getting there as fast as we could!)  They scanned our boarding passes, grabbed our rolling carry-on to check at the gate cuz the plane was so full, ushered us through the door, and slammed the gate closed behind us.  Hearing that sound we were SO relieved that we'd made it, and at the very last second, too!

We rushed onto the plane and a VERY kind flight attendant/angel-in-disguise named Nia took pity on us.  This little plane had two seats on each side of an aisle, so James and EZ were on one side, and me and a very large man were on the other side.  I had the window and he had the aisle.  Nia didn't say anything to me, just pointed to the large stranger and said, "You.  Here." and moved him to another seat on the plane!  I was relieved because I knew I was about to nurse Ellie and didn't really want to be doing that right next to him!  Then she went and got us a huge bottled water and a handful of plane snacks (peanuts, pretzels, cookies)-we were ELATED!  We had been planning to grab lunch and do diaper changes in the Atlanta airport, but obviously we didn't have a chance to do that.  Since we'd left the house at 5:30, we'd had smoothies and granola bars for breakfast, then the breakfast sandwiches, then snacks on the first plane, but knew we'd be arriving in Tennessee at dinner time.  We were also seriously dehydrated and so really, that huge bottle of water was the most wonderful thing she could have given us at that moment!!!

As the plane took off, I was thinking about the fact that we hadn't had a chance to change diapers since DFW, and was planning to try to use the lavatory to do that (it was a turbulent first flight and they hardly turned off the seatbelt sign, plus EZ is WAY too big for that tiny bathroom/changing table), when before I had the chance, Ellie loudly filled her diaper, and I immediately started feeling it run onto my hand!  I quickly set her on a burpcloth through takeoff, then used my conveniently empty seat beside me to change her diaper and outfit!  Elijah had to wait til we landed, by which time he had also started to soak through his diaper and jeans!  Good thing I'd been warned to take extra clothes!

We were SO thrilled to finally get to Tennessee and see my parents and were really looking forward to getting to see their new house and EAT dinner!  Unfortunately, even though we miraculously made it onto our second flight, our suitcase and carseats did not.  Turns out the next flight into Bristol already had our luggage aboard and was scheduled for 2 hours later, but then that plane got delayed, but then made really good time, etc, etc.  All in all, we hung out at that airport for about 2 hours, then finally got to come "home" and be done with our traveling!

All in all, the kids did FABULOUSLY!  Ellie slept almost the whole time, and Elijah, though he didn't sleep a wink, played happily and was very pleasant and had such a happy heart!  We were so thankful!
Elijah wearing the Moby on the plane.

We really feel like making both of those flights and surviving the drive up to the airport were really each miraculous-sweet gifts from God!  I just really felt like He was showing us His kindness on a day that was just tiring and draining.  Thank you, Jesus!

Ellie meeting Baba for the first time

1 comment:

  1. WOW! What a story, packed full of miracles and laughs. So glad y'all made it OK and can't wait to see wedding pics! We will be praying your next trip will be MUCH more uneventful :)