Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Long Trip Home

Saturday afternoon and evening were an experience I will not soon forget.  I was told by multiple people that security at the Tulsa airport takes 15 minutes to get through.  Miss F and I still arrived 2 hours early.  As soon as we got through security, we found out that our plane was delayed by half an hour.  I started to panic just a little bit because I knew that we had a 45 minute layover.

Miss F loved the airport, though.  She crawled and cruised all over the place.  A little girl about 8 years old and her younger brother took a liking to her.  Their mother worked for the airline, so they spent a lot of times in the airport.  I kept pulling Miss F back to the middle of the room, and she crawled right back to them.


We got on the plane, and they said we'd get in almost on time.  Yay!  This flight isn't full (unlike our trip out), so we got our own row.  Double yay!  Miss F sat in the seat, munching on sauteed apples and oatmeal pancakes.  She particularly enjoyed the safety instruction card.  I guess it was something about the colorful pictures and lack of words that attracted her.

Twenty minutes before the end of our first 90 minute flight, Miss F was restless.  It was about 6 pm, and she hadn't napped all day, aside from some car seat catnaps.  And then, she unleashed her inner fury.  This baby screamed like I've never heard her before.  I tried to nurse her, she pushed me away.  I tried to feed her, she threw the food.  I tried to cuddle her with a blanket, and she tore it away.  I tried shushing and rocking.  I even tried covering her mouth.  Nothing was working.  I could see two men in front of me complaining.  One covered his ears.

At about the 10 minute mark, I started crying out of frustration.  Finally, I flipped her over in my lap, face down, so that at least she was crying toward the floor.  The little girl from earlier came up and offered her a Barbie doll.  For a brief moment, she stopped crying.  I was patting her back when she passed straight out.  She went limp as a ragdoll, and she began softly snoring.

Everything is great now, right?  No.  I forgot about our plane's delay.  We landed half an hour before my flight took off.  It was already boarding when we got to the gate.   We waited for our carry-on luggage that was gate checked.  As I'm waiting, I mention to the mother of the little girl that she did an amazing thing for me.  I tell her I'm freaking out though, because my plane is two terminals away and already boarding.  If we didn't make that flight, we wouldn't get home until midnight.  Rather than offering a half-hearted response, she grabbed my bag and told me they'd get me there.

She got us to the airport train, calm and keeping her kids in tow the whole time.  As we were riding the escalator, I asked if she'd be late for her connecting flight.  Nope, she lived in that city, and her sister was picking them up.  She could wait.  We got to the terminal and, wouldn't you know, my gate was the last gate in the terminal.  And we had 12 minutes until that plane left.  The kids and I ran (sleepy baby angrily flopping in my arms) to the gate while the mom lugged my bag behind us.  I got to the gate, breathless and shaking.  The little girl handed me the sling and baby blanket I dropped when I broke out into a sprint.  And her mom came up behind two minutes later, bag in hand.  We made it!

On this flight, I took a whole three seat row,

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