I got one of those phone calls that you hate to get recently. My dad was being rushed in for an emergency surgery to stop the blood from a hematoma he had on his brain. News like this is never good, but it is especially bad when you live 1,700 miles away from your parents. Luckily, later that night word came that the surgery went well and he was recovering in the ICU. He would be in the ICU for a few days but they expected a good recovery.
Knowing my mom would need help, both while he was in the hospital, and when he got home, I made plans to fly home that Sunday. As hard as it is to believe, my dad hadn’t met our youngest son Trey, who was 16 months old. We have plans for a family vacation in September which was to be their first meeting. But I have to admit, when I heard he was going into surgery one of my first thoughts was: I’ll never forgive myself if something happened to him and he never met his grandson. It was that thought that gave me the courage to take Trey with me to visit.
This would be Trey’s first flight and my first flight with one of the kids solo. I had basically gone ahead and braced myself for the worse. Little did I know, my imagined worse was a walk in the park vs. what was actually ahead of me!
The trip from Colorado to North Carolina would consist of two flights: the first from Denver to Charlotte around three hours and then a shorter one from Charlotte to Greensboro. Did I mention the Sunday we were flying on just happened to be Mother’s Day? I went into this thinking it might be to my advantage. Certainly people seeing a mom travel alone with an infant on Mother’s Day would be sympathetic? Certainly not!
We were the last people to board the flight. I didn’t want to spend a second longer on that plane than I had too. As we walked on I noticed every single seat was taken, every seat but one, the one that I would share with Trey, the one that was a middle seat, the one that had a grumpy old man in the window seat, and the one that had a woman who must have been 300 pounds in the aisle seat. Her eyes met mine and I knew the fear on my face had to match the fear I saw on hers. How in the hell can an airline put a mother traveling with an infant in her lap in a middle seat! Much less this middle seat! Must less a middle seat which was partially taken up by the neighbor’s fat ass!
Tears immediately formed in my eyes. I couldn’t help it. This was going to be hell! After crying intermittently throughout the entire flight, apologizing hundreds of times for my sons cries, yells, movements, we finally landed. I practically ran into the Charlotte terminal, so happy to be free, if only for a short while.
But unfortunately our layover was quick and we were back on a plane within the hour, this one much smaller and although a much shorter flight, one that felt like the longest flight in the history of flying.
Immediately upon sitting down Trey began to cry. And I don’t mean a pouty cry, I mean a “Mom what the f**k are you trying to do to me here,” cry. Homeboy was pissed off! Pissed off and tired.
After moving me to the empty very back seat and watching Trey literally flailing in my arms as he screamed, the older gentleman who was our flight attendant tried to talk Trey into sitting with him for take-off. Nice try! Now not only was Trey crying, but mom was crying, hysterically! Thinking it may be of comfort to me, the attendant says, “well at least your headed somewhere fun.” To which I wailed, “No we aren’t, we are going to see my Daddy in the ICUuuuuuuu…” Well now didn’t he just feel like shit! He must of because after this he was rubbing my back, bringing me drinks, tissues, even a tube of Pringles!
Trey finally fell asleep after one of the worst half hours of my life. By the time we got to Greensboro everyone on the plane knew about our circumstances and all were wishing my father the best. I was running towards the closest liquor store to calm what I think must have been my first ever panic attack.
That night we went to ICU and Trey immediately crawled onto the bed with his Granddaddy while I snapped a photo of their first meeting. Suddenly all the stress of the travel day had left me. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Of course this time I’d dope that child up with so much Benadryl he wouldn’t be able to keep an eye open!