Two years ago I flew with Sunshine, who was18 months, to visit Opa and grandma in British Columbia. My flight home turned out to be the worst disaster of my parenting career. If it had been my first flight with a child I possible may have never flown again.“Get me to the plane on time”
I had everything packed up the day before the flight so I could spend the morning saying good-by, playing with Sunshine and getting ready for the 4 hour drive to the airport. My mom had left two day’s prier to be with my sister as she delivered her first baby. So my dad would provide the ride to the big city airport, besides he likes the road trips and he had an errand to do while in the city. This in itself is a stressful situation because dad is notoriously infamous for being late. The more important it is to not be late, the more last minute tasks he will have to do before leaving the house. I was four months pregnant at the time with my second child so we would also need to make extra potty breaks during the tripe. I needed to be at the airport by 5 for my 6 o’clock departure. After dad changed the oil, vacuumed out the car, checked the tires, vacuumed and swept the entire house, lifted the bed mattresses, and couch cushions, pulled the fridge out, cleaned it off and rummaged the closets, drawer and raided the fridge as he looking for anything I might have missed, we were ready to strap sunshine in the car and be off. I calculated our trip, 4 hours to the air port and one hour to do his errand in the city. However, dad thinks that it takes three hours to get to the airport so he has lots of time, time to spare in his mind. He forgets that it takes an hour to cross the city, the destination is not the welcome to the big city, it is the actual airport but it is hard to convince him of this. I have learned that stressing out, holding my breath or jogging in the passenger seat like Fred Flintstone does not help slow the clock down or quicken our arrival. So I enjoyed the tripe. “If I missed the plane, I would get home eventually, it would cost a motel room, another ticket, and another adrenalin rush catching to plane the following day but our student loan can handle it” I told myself. Besides, I had one thing going for me… my flight actually left at 6:30, a half hour latter than he thought.
An hour from the big city Sunshine was screaming my bladder was about to burst and my eardrums pounding as a result of the poor car acoustics. ( wouldn’t that be a great selling feature, sound absorbing fabric, now that’s,”designing with the mother in mind”. We quickly made a potty stop and pulled ourselves together. We still had some time, but we were going to need to keep going.
Once in the city it soon became apparent that dad did not know where he needed to be. It was 4 O’clock. These small specialty shops that dad seeks out must look for the most obscure location to set up shop. We found the correct road, traveled back and forth on it, around and around the block several times, but could not find the correct address number. Dad finally conceded that he needed help, so we stopped at a convenience store to ask for directions. (Note to self, Google directions myself and call the company the day before departure). We were on the wrong side of the major highway and would have to weave ourselves through the streets to find the over pass to the other side of the highway. By now we were both getting frustrated, which fueled our determination to conquer the errand but we were also loosing time, “this is why I fudge the departure times”, I thought. We had a half an hour before we needed to head to the airport which was enough to complete the errand if we could get there with no more navigation issues. I began organizing in my mind, in case I had to run to the gate to catch this plane. On the other side of the highway the streets were even more confusing than where we just left. We traveled around and a round literally, through a saw mill and back and forth up small streets. It was absolutely ridiculous we could see from the directions that we had to be close but the numbers did not match up. At quarter to five, dad stopped again for directions, this time a very kind receptionist goggled the address, printed it out and sent us on our way. We sped again through the streets, back around the block and to the correct address as a gentleman descended the steps from the office. It was 4:55
Dad rolled the window down and asked,”Is it still open?” “Yes” the gentleman answered “but you better be quick they are turning off the lights”. Dad ran in while I changed Sunshine and re-organized my bags so I would have lots of toy’s, snacks and my video player at my finger tips while on the plane. It was 5 O’clock, 30 min left to be at the gate.
Shortly after five dad came running back to the car. “How much time to we have” he asked, “20 min, we should be able to make it” I said with confidence. It was free sailing from here four lanes, no lights, no problem, right? Wrong. That’s when we saw the traffic. I have not been to the big city for a long time it is not my stomping grounds anymore, I was not prepared for the volume of traffic. We inched along bumper to bumper, our anxiety growing, my mouth dry with dread, “this can not be happening” I thought, ” It’s not like I can just grab my bags and run, I have the car seat to take out bags and a stroller to tot along with me”. The knot was growing in my stomach we didn’t say anything to each other focusing on our own thought afraid to voice our fear. It was 5:40. The air port was congested, “Oh, dear God, please get us a parking space at the entrance!” We both prayed. “Dad, there’s a spot” but wait, “this can’t be happening” I thought, someone was vying for the same spot! My mind flashed to all the movies I watched with this same scene. I needed the space desperately; I had to have this space!
………to be contiued