July 11, 1:30am - On way to airport. Amazed how perky E is after finding herself in her car seat in the middle of the night.
July 11, 2:30am - Make it through security and find gate. Feeling excited to be heading home.
July 11, 3:30am - Horrified to learn that our "good seats" are the middle two in a row of four. This can't be happening? Please let us have good seat-mates.
July 11, 3:35am - Two big older men take their seats on either side of E and I. First big old man presses his button for the flight attendant.
July 11, 3:36am - Big Old Man says to flight attendant "Can you find me a seat that is not next to a baby?". He actually said that. He must have been part pyschic as he could obviously see what was about to unfold. I still didn't see it coming. Flight attendant tells Big Old Man that flight is overbooked and he will be staying put.
Side note: She also secretly jostles our overhead bags around, as later, when I need a diaper, I eventually find my bag over seat 28D... I was in 32E. Randomly checking all of the overhead bins in the middle of the night wasn't a pain in the a** at all (while carrying my 32 pounder).
|Ella, answering her banana, |
four hours into our second flight
10ish am - Make it to terminal. Gate hasn't been announced. Sign says gate will be announced @ 11:30am. Find bathroom, clean E & I up, call C and sob that I have made a terrible mistake. Where the f*ck is my stroller.
11:15am - Find a seat in a crowded common area by the big flight announcement sign. Arms too weak to carry E anywhere. Must sit and wait the last 15mins till gate is announced. I can't believe how heavy she seems.
11:30am - Sign says that gate will now be announced at 11:45am.
11:45am - Sign says that gate will now be announced at 12pm. Mother of God, I give up. E is flipping her lid and I have had two hours sleep in the last 24. E is trying to run away from me. Not even looking back. I try to bribe her back to our seats. This is torture.
12:00pm - YOU HAVE GOT TO BE JOKING. Sign says gate will be announced at 12:15. I am living my life in 15 minute increments of pure hell. E makes another escape attempt (almost succeeds).
12:13pm or so (still July 11) - I must make note of this occurence as it was a first in our mother-daughter relationship. E had had it. She was done with waiting. She didn't want cheerios or juice or any toy in my bags. She didn't want an iPod loaded with Mickey or Dora, and she didn't want anymore of this waiting. I had a pony tail in my hair. Without warning, E looked right in my eyes, pulls her face close to mine (I thought for a kiss, perhaps?), swiftly takes her hands, one on either side of my head, and grabs fistfuls of my hair, yanking it out of my pony tail and holding it in her hands as tight as she could. We just stared at each other, locked in place. She didn't have the words to vent her frustration, but she let me know. Enough of this sh*t, Mom. Get us out of here. Everyone around us stared as I gathered my hair, my bags, my daughter, and my dignity, just as the sign flicked: LONDON TO HALIFAX - GATE 43.
12:25pm - E is falling all over the place when she tries to walk. Thats no sleep for ya, kiddo. I have to carry her. Where the hell are those little golf carts? Can't somebody see that my arms are about to come loose from my shoulders and fall on the floor. I have never lifted anything heavier in my life. E now feels like a full grown, soaking wet, water buffalo in my arms. I am at Gate 12 and I want to give up.
I develop a pattern: walk ten or twelve feet. Stop. Set water buffalo on metal hand rail that lines the wall. Rest. Repeat. Thank God for that hand rail. We were a sight.
Some time around 1pm, but really, who gives a sh*t what time it is at this point - Finally made it to our gate. Arms shaking and eyes blurry. We wait some more.
2pm-ish - We board. A new airline. Air Canada. Now, in the past I have critized this airline. But not today. I take it all back today. No, today the two seats (window and aisle) waiting for us were a thing of beauty. The French and English passenger announcements were sweet music to my ears. Every person walking by our seats to find their own looked familiar. A neighbour or an old teacher, or someone I once worked with, perhaps? My ears were picking up accents I knew. E seemed to suddenly get a second wind. Thank you Jesus, Thank you.
The rest of our flight - E slept, but only for an hour. Poor little thing just couldn't get comfortable. But, we made friends. The lady in front of us was from Gander, Newfoundland, and was travelling with her two teenaged kids. The lady behind us was Lebanese-Canadian, travelling with her daughter back to their home in Halifax. They were wonderful people. Changed my day around. The young girls played with E over the seats and my new Newfie friend helped us right till the end. Her son carried our bags till we parted ways in Halifax. I forget their names now, but I will never forget how great they were. I love Canadians.
But, we made it. The Canadian Customs Officer was more than sympathetic and said: "I heard her crying in the line this whole time, and you are all by yourself? Next time that happens, go over to the Airline Staff Only line and we'll get you right through". Ha ha! Next time? Not me, my friend, not me.