Thursday, April 27, 2017

My One Word {and} Why I Don't Want to Fly Standby

"I'm sorry, I can't check you into your flight."

Not words a mom with 3 unruly and tired kids wants to hear. Everyone is done with the vacation, everyone wants to go home. I'm trying to stay calm while my kids are obviously not calm and instead hooting and hollering at the counter in the airport.

"I'm sorry but the system locks us out 30 minutes before take off. I can set you up to fly standby tomorrow morning at 5am"

I look at the clock. it was 28 minutes before scheduled departure. I missed check in by 2-3 minutes.

That means another night it a hotel. The possibility of not actually flying home tomorrow, and another night in a hotel. The kids start chanting 'I want to go home' on repeat, and growing louder by the minute.

The lady behind the counter continues... "The plane is only half full, but it will get you to Chicago. Now, the next flight from there to get you home leaves 4 hours after you arrive, but there are only 10 available spots. Flying standby we can't guarantee you can fly. There are other non-direct routes that will get you home by 8pm tomorrow. If we can get you on the flight straight from Chicago you can be home by noon."

What were my choices? I can't go home. I'm tired and cranky. My hands start to shake I am so upset. I replay the car ride from DC to Charlottesville. My incessant nagging to get everyone moving and into the car. All missed by 2-3 minutes. My heart starts racing and tears start welling in my eyes. "Sure", I say. I'd much rather be home by lunchtime than by bedtime.

She starts to chastise me for being late. I did not need a lecture on punctuality. I was the one harping on the others to get into the car.

Stay Calm. That was all I kept telling myself all while this attendant behind the counter kept talking about arriving to places before start time. I wanted to scream. I wanted to ask her if she had kids, or how hard it would be for her to leave a family member she hasn't seen in 15 years. But mostly? I just wanted to scream.

Instead I say to myself, Stay Calm. I call husband and let him know to keep the rental car another night. He says he will bring it back around so we can load all the car seats, luggage and kids.

And then a person comes up to the counter at the computer next to me. Same situation. Late by 4 minutes. Going to New York. Instead of being calm, he throws an adult-sized temper tantrum. Yelling, cussing. The works.

Guess what? They. Let. Him. On.

Stay Calm.

Oh well, he didn't have three kids and a spouse in tow. It would have taken us 30 minutes just to go through security! I had a moment where I thought, "could I have gotten what I wanted if I threw a fit?" But I always tell my kids that doesn't get them what they want.

I take our itinerary, we get a hotel and board the 5am flight the next morning.

We arrive in Chicago. We find the gate, talk to the people.

"The flight is full. But we will call you once boarding begins if we can get you on the flight."

That means I have to wait 4 hours?!? The kids are tired and wont stay still. The baby is fussy, crying, hungry. The other two are whining every two seconds. I have to wait 4 hours to find out whether or not I can take my tired and cranky kids home? My palms start to sweat. I start to shake. My body is tired from lack of sleep (about 3 hours) and my emotions are going haywire. I just want to cry. I just want to go home! Stay Calm.

The attendants are working furiously on the computer moving seats, granting first class upgrades.

Boarding starts.

They call our party to get us onto the flight. They move some more people around to keep us all together and we are able to board the flight and go home! Relief!

The tears start running. I am so grateful and thankful. The kids are excited to go home.

I never want to do that again!

I continue to tell myself: stay calm.

I had been praying and asking for guidance on what I should use as my goal, or guiding word, this year. Last year it was intentional. I needed it with post-partum. I thought about re-using this word this year as I still need to work on it, but it did not settle well on my heart.

Calm, I heard it over and over again. Be Calm. Stay Calm.

But I didn't listen.

It took 3.5 months and flying standby (I NEVER want to do that again!) for me to finally hear.


Husband said he really wasn't ready to go home yet. I needed a slap in the face for my one word. The kids just wanted to go to sleep.

So we got an extra night of vacation. We got to get the kids to bed earlier than they had been the last few nights.

And, I was up for a 12 hour day the following day.

My one word this year: CALM

Our only group picture from our Vacation! Folly Beach, SC
Easter Day: Happy Easter!

what's your one word?