31 October 2010

In the Skies

You may be wondering how our travels went over a week ago.

Do I have to choose between most challenging and most empowering?

Cause I can't.

It was challenging and empowering. But neither could fit the category of 'MOST challenging/empowering 24 hours EVER'.

I'd just say that eighty percent of our time traveling was super fun and adventurous. Yes, I really do mean that! But the other twenty percent of time I thought would have been an excellent opportunity for Jesus to have made His second coming and end all the suffering in the world.

Lord have mercy.

Let me walk you through it.



This is starting out. Midnight in our home city. Almost all the flights leave our city in the middle of the night. Please note: I had the only kids on the plane.

Sweet N fell asleep pretty quickly once they got her little bassinet hooked into the wall. She snoozed most of the way.

My boy on the other hand found everything most exciting and was quite wired. Eventually I drugged him for a cold he never had and he eventually fell asleep.

Me? Not so much.

We arrived early in the morning to Frankfurt, Germany. This has previously been listed as one of my least favorite airports in the world.

But it has now redeemed itself. I'll show you why in a minute.



This is our layover in Frankfurt. If possible, we like to claim entire sections of seats to ourselves during layovers. Then we spread our massive amounts of baby and traveling gear everywhere and really make ourselves at home.

Other passengers who have layovers in the same airport really love it when families like mine do this.

;)



This is an early morning blessing from Jesus. This is what has redeemed the Frankfurt airport for me.



A free hot-drink station! Courtesy of Lufthansa. Glory, hallelujah!



So many choices!! What shall I choose? Cappuccino. Oh thank you Lufthansa. I will fly with you forever. Or at least until I find another airline with better prices. In which case I'll fly the other airline but still look for your free hot-drink stations hiding out around corners in your boarding gates. Okay?

Another thing I loved about the Frankfurt airport? Everyone talked to us in German. For some reason this really flattered me. I kept thinking "Ha! They think I'm one of them!" Sometimes I'd pretend to understand and other times I have to say "Um, English please?"



My girlie had her own drink. She looks German, don't you think?

He he



And my boy just hanging out. Also looking German.

;)

Once we left our little camp-out zone and proceeded to our correct gate I noticed that once again, I had the only children. I also noticed that everyone else was wearing black. I mean EVERYONE. No exaggeration. It was an early morning flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Munich, Germany. It was a total business-person commuter flight. And then there was us. No black. No business. No commuting. Three Americans with morning breath wearing sweats, faded jeans and feetie pajamas.

Hhmmmm.

So, as we were waiting at the gate (with our things strewn about, as usual) the staff kindly approached me to inform me that we could board early because of the children.

"Okay" I said. "I'll just need a minute to gather our things."

The airline staff then proceeded to stand over me, nearly gawking while I tried to gather our various baby and traveling paraphernalia and shove it into various bags. This process takes time.

Now, please understand how meticulous you have to be in order to gather a double stroller, pack two carry-ons, locate a small boy's backpack, put on sweatshirts, check to make sure shoes haven't fallen off, strap baby in baby carrier, make sure the pacifier is close-by, check the area for forgotten goods and chase down and hold the hand of a energetic toddler.

This takes TIME.

And there is a specific order and way things have to be zipped up, strapped on, slung over, and grabbed onto. If the order gets mixed up then it just doesn't work nearly as well.

[Man standing over me, mentally twiddling his thumbs.]

Does he not understand?

So aaanyway. I did a bad job of loading myself up. So now instead of looking like the confident and composed mother traveling with two little kiddos alone that I know I am... I look like a total mess.

Oh well. I do manage to locate the pocket where I had our boarding passes and I hand 'em over and start walking down the ramp.

And then someone must have pulled out a bugle and played the Call to Post.

Cause before we were halfway down the ramp, there was a stampede of black suits and briefcases headed straight at my son, who is slowly making his way down the ramp behind me.

Are you serious?

What exactly is the point of giving people with children early boarding if you are just gonna release a pack of business-people the second we step past the desk?

Give me a break.

I saw looks on the faces of those who had caught up to my boy in about two seconds flat. They were perplexed by this tiny sweatsuit wearing mini-person. "Should we pass up this little kid or screech on our brakes to give him time to walk down to his Mommy?" That is what they were thinking.

Luckily they slowed down, I didn't have to use my eye-daggers and we boarded. My thick skin once again served me well cause I didn't care what they thought.

So after this short commuter flight to Munich, another short layover, and some decent pre-boarding time, we were on our way to Charlotte!

And then I was that woman on the plane with the crying child for four hours in the middle of a nine hour trans-Atlantic flight. I was that woman on the plane with the busy nosey toddler who repeatedly dropped his stuffed monkey behind the seat and then stuck his little face between the seats five hundred times to see what those very lucky trying-to-watch-a-movie-but-instead-repeatedly-returning-stuffed-monkey passengers were doing. I was that woman.

It was in the midst of those four crying filled hours that I stopped making eye contact with people. Most importantly I stopped making eye contact with anyone within the immediate vicinity of seats 44 H and K. It was not pretty for awhile there in the middle, folks. But then sweet N (endearing term used loosely here) finally ceased her wailing and fell asleep and the whole aircraft cabin took a collective sigh of relief. Me? I slouched down in my seat and rung for some refreshments.

We did arrive in one (three) pieces. I did it. Let me re-phrase that...

I DID IT!!!! YEEEEE-HEEEEE!!!

I even managed to get myself loaded up correctly and didn't struggle to get my children, our carry-ons, our stroller AND our check-in bag through customs. I even handled the extensive questioning and thorough bag searching with calmness and grace.



Here we are on the other side, arrived in Charlotte! Of course H zonked out the moment we exited the airplane. He was so exhausted from all that monkey throwing I guess. Go figure.

I did have a few concerns ahead of time... my baby girl did spend a lot of her time squealing, I didn't get much sleep at all (only a couple hours the whole time), but my allergy-clogged ears didn't pain me at all.

After we arrived I breathed deeply of the cool fresh air. Then I got to squeeze my sister and my nephew and my brother-in-law who is doing AMAZINGLY well recovering from his heart transplant. Then came my shower and some cozy carpet under my feet.

I definitely had the 'I did it' feeling.

And you know what? It turns out I wasn't alone. Jesus was with me.

:)

5 comments:

  1. You are one of my heros Suzanne! Love the pics and the real-life script. Glad you and kiddos arrived safe and sound. Hugs to you!

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  2. Oh my.. I loved reading this! You're a trooper!

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  3. wow! i slways knew you were strong woman, but this seals the deal. thanks for sharing your experience and glad you are enjoying some family time.

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  4. You are awesome! Although, I have to admit I did chuckle as the excellent visuals you painted... Now for some R&R...

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  5. I am about to do 30 hours of flying - but my two are 7 and 9. You are a legend. : )

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