We arrived at 10:30 am, two hours early for our flight. My phone rang as I checked in, but I ignored it as I juggled baggage, baby in a carrier, and a toddler. Little did I know that missed call was a foreshadowing of the day of delays to come. Nothing could have prepared me for the kindness of strangers during the day ahead either.
I planned for a long day of travel with two little ones the best I could. We left in the afternoon from a small, regional airport. Our travel plans brought us to Chicago with a 3 hour layover. This provided ample times to make up for any flight delays (or so I thought), traveling between gates, and stopping for lunch. By the time we boarded a plane at 6 pm in Chicago to Seattle, our bellies would be full and sleep should set in for the 4 hours ahead.
Except the weather had other plans.
Our day could have been torture with expensive, limited food choice; endless delays, boarding a plane, then getting off before taking off; lines, stress, hurrying, too much stuff, changing flights, running through airports, tired kids, and aching feet. But I don’t remember it that way.
Instead, our trip was:
- A woman on her way to visit grand kids smiling at my little boys and keeping me company while we waited for a flight.
- Two women willing to sit with my little boy – engrossed in a show on the laptop – while I ran to the bathroom with baby strapped to me.
- A woman and her son who chatted with me about Seattle as we waited for flight information and shared the frustration of not knowing.
- Two ladies on their way to Dallas grinning at my boys in delight and complimenting their behavior.
- The man who took my son’s chewed gum in a wrapper while we waited to change our connecting flight, then moved our backpacks for us.
- Smiling flight attendants.
- Northern lights out the window.
- Our new friend from the airport playing with baby, then holding him when I needed to prepare for landing.
- The group of Kansas City senior citizens stuck in Chicago on their way to New York, who played with the boys, laughed with us, and provided companionship as exhaustion set in.
- Lillebaby as a lifesaver; allowing me to care for Kai while baby napped and navigate the airport.
- A mom and her four year-old who invited us to play toys, share snacks, and chat while we waited for news.
- The fellow passengers who smiled at three young kids playing tag through the small waiting area after hours of delays.
- Our aisle seat neighbor during a four hour flight, who shared his drink tray with me while I held a sleeping baby, never man-spread his legs, didn’t mind when baby pushed at him with his feet while nursing, and never batted an eye at sitting next to a mom and two kids.
Thank you to everyone who made our day easier with a smile, kind word, or helping hand. Thank you for making a challenging day a beautiful memory.