“I got this,” I told myself. “How hard could it be?”
As I drove to the airport alone with my 11-month-old, I jammed out to “Confident” by Demi Lovato, pumping myself up for what was to come.
Avery and I were on our way to Texas. Our first trip, just the two of us.
I was determined not to be intimidated. I had a plan. That plan was instantly derailed, however, the minute I pulled into the airport.
LOT FULL. LOT FULL. LOT FULL.
It was the day after Christmas. I should have known. I was planning to spend the extra money and utilize the parking garage so I didn’t have to take the shuttle with all our luggage and my child. That obviously wasn’t going to happen. In fact, the two closest shuttle lots were also full. I ended up parking in one of the very last spots in some obscure lot I never even knew existed in all my years of flying. Already not off to a good start.
I managed to schlep my luggage and baby into the airport. Walking up to the ticket counter, I felt like one of those wrestlers walking into the ring, except I didn’t have a posse or a hype man with me. I was alone. With a baby. And a ton of luggage.
Besides a few fussy moments and some sympathetic looks from other travelers, we got to Texas fairly easily. We even had an empty seat next to us on the plane, which meant my squirmy baby had more room to, well, squirm.
After a one week stay in Texas, we headed home. Unfortunately, the return trip didn’t go as smoothly. We had a tight connection in DFW, one of the nation’s busiest and largest airports. The weather was nice; all flights were arriving as scheduled. We should be fine, I assured myself. That was until some irate passenger on our flight to DFW decided to throw a fit, demanding to get off the plane after the doors were already closed. (Thanks for that, dude. I should have sneaked one of Avery’s dirty diapers into your suitcase as you walked by.)
Thirty minutes later, we were finally wheels up. The delay meant our gate was occupied when we finally arrived, so our plane sat on the Tarmac for another 20 minutes. Panic was setting in. Our flight home was already boarding. I knew we had to switch terminals, which at DFW practically meant a commute in rush hour traffic.
Once at the gate, we had ten minutes until our next flight was suppose to takeoff. Our arrival and departure gates couldn’t be further apart, but maybe the travel gods would have sympathy on this tired, stressed mama. Maybe, just maybe, we could make our connection. I bolted out of the plane like a rock hurling out of a sling shot. Awkwardly, I ran/waddled through the terminal, dragging my carry-on bag while trying to balance my heavier-than-usual diaper bag on my shoulder. Meanwhile, Avery was bobbing up and down in the baby carrier with every step. We got to the gate in a matter of minutes. My lungs felt like they were bleeding. My legs were limp like overcooked spaghetti noodles. Dang, I was out of shape. New Years resolution: get my butt in the gym.
As I approached the counter I could see it in the face of the gate agent, I was too late. I was ONE minute too late. She could obviously see the despair in my face, as well. She walked around the counter and threw her arms around me apologetically. As I stood there in a strange embrace with the American Airlines employee, I told myself I’d never fly alone with a baby again. New New Year’s resolution: never fly alone with a baby again. After getting booked onto a new flight I headed back to the very gate I had just made a mad dash from to catch my new flight. (Irony sucks.)
Along the way, I reminded myself that layover aren’t always bad. I probably will fly alone with Avery again… someday. New New Year’s resolution: stop making resolutions you won’t keep.