I look at myself today, and see a woman who has had the most incredible life with her kids! I see a woman who can look back and tell a strong enough story that will keep those kids at beckon call for years to come, because they love being a part of the madness to this day! They laugh when I talk to them about being a “sugar mom,” because secretly they know it’s their destinations too! I’m remembering back to a time when our world was “rocked” by Mother Nature.
The greatest desire of my children, was to go back home to NY over the winter break for a long week, and spend it with their very missed friends. They’d been crossing the days off of their calendars since the summer! We bought 3 new suitcases- one for each girl, 13, 14 and 17 years old, and it was their first trip alone flying those friendly skies; then SHE stepped in.
The NERVE of that Beeyotch! Mother Nature overstepped her boundaries in a Big Way! I will never forget it, so much so that I’m writing about it Now! We got hit with snow, to the tune of 5 inches the night before lift off! I started my “Mother Dance,”… you know the one, “Girls; we may need to rethink this,” as I was looking down into 3 sets of eyes as big as mine looking back at me with horror… I continued, “Seriously, I’m not sure this is exactly safe weather to fly in! How do we know what’s going on in NY??” SILENCE. That’s what I heard. Not ONE PEEP. They were mortified that I’d even suggest the thought of not going!
I checked with US AIR, and the flight was still on, and NY was accepting planes, so… my husband and I looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and gave in. Let the nightmare begin… The kids got on the plane, and sat there for 3 hours on the tarmac. The pilot assured the cabin that they were now ready for takeoff, which they indeed Did do, and flew to NYC.Their friend’s Mom was already at the airport in NY waiting for the arrival of the plane, because she’d heard the weather was going to be bad later, and thought she’d beat the storm. I got a call from my 17-year-old, which for the life of me I couldn’t figure out HOW because she was still in the air!
It turned out the captain was flying low and had just blurted out over the speaker system, that they couldn’t land in NY!The Panic started to seep in about now, starting from my head, traveling south as I started stomping my feet in my, “I TOLD YOU!” dance!
It turned into a RAIN dance by the time we hung up, as I overheard the pilot saying, “Ladies and Gentlemen, due to the severity of the storm, we’re flying below,(Below? What BELOW?) and we’ll need to land this plane in Pennsylvania.” That’s when we lost the connection. I should start a blog called, “#RUKiddingMe.” Pennsylvania’s a pretty big state, and being that I had no idea which was the designated city- I started calling everyone and anyone I knew in each city I could think of. All cities were covered, and I was proud; EXCEPT for Harrisburg, and that’s where they landed!
I received a call from the eldest of the three, telling me they were off the plane, sitting in the airport in Harrisburg, (mind you this was 6 hours in)I’ll never forget her words: “Mom? They’re putting us on a bus to La Guardia, and it’s leaving soon.” At that moment, I lost complete control!YES, I BLEW like a worn out teapot! I put my lips as close to that phone as humanly possible, almost swallowing it, and said, “GET ME AN ADULT THAT WORKS for US AIR! NOW!!!” I was handed off to a stranger on the other end of the phone who told me, “they either get on the bus, or fly back to Charlotte.”
There was no, “Ma’am, would it be ok with you, if we put your 3 children on a bus, in this monstrous blizzard instead of flying them in this monstrous blizzard all the way back to Charlotte?” He just out-and-out TOLD me what they were doing with MY KIDS. Furious and frustrated, doesn’t even come close to how I was feeling! Thinking to myself for a change, I had to weigh the odds because this was some storm! Within which scenario, did I see them with a greater chance of survival?
Lucky for us, we wound up not having to make that choice because there was no bus! The bus couldn’t make it to the airport! Did I mention that this whole conversation was on the speaker of my cell, while in my car with my older two kids? Their mouths were pretty much agape at this whole shenanigan. My 22-year-old uttered the worst sentence possible:“I TOLD YOU not to let them go; SEE??” My memory is very keen! The words, “She’s lucky I gave birth to her,” are still firmly in place. These people we called “airline personel,” for lack of a better descripttion, put my three babies back on a plane and flew them through that storm right back to Charlotte.
The clock ticked… I kept looking from my watch to the sky… until they made it! To make matters worse, my husband waited for 2 hours at the US Airways refund desk, where he was told, “Sorry- no dice, ya’can’t deny Mother Nature her fury.” We were so lucky it wasn’t ME in that line. I have the shorter fuse, for sure. Twelve hours later they all walked into the house, my three “seasoned travelers,” with their heads hung low. I felt as if the failure in the sky, land and minds, was all my fault, as any good mom, might. They walked upstairs as I followed, the youngest picked up their red-exed calendar and just looked at it. The next day I checked every airline available and found no availabilities to NY. That’s when I became Supermom! I booked The BUS. I was willing to do anything to right the wrong for my girls! Before we knew it, they were on a GREYHOUND BUS bound for NYC!
We figured, they handled 12 hours of transportation getting No-where, so they should be able to handle that long a day and Get to where they wanted to Be! Three pair of hopeful eyes looked at me as I paid for the seats over the phone, and they Jumped for Joy!!!This was now 10 am on the 28th, and they still had their suitcases packed in hope of travel. My husband took them to the bus station an hour before departure as per the “guy on the phone’s” suggestion.
They stood in line, while being told, “First Come, First Serve.” What happened to having guaranteed seats by paying up front on the phone?? Receiving this news by phone turned me into a human timebomb, ticking off the mental list of attrocities that we’d put these kids through over the last two days! My eldest daughter elected to go with her dad to lend a hand for the three travelers and was texting me with all that was going on at the bus station!
The first text I received was, “Uhhh Mom? I think Dad’s gonna’ get in a fight!” Apparantly, between having his kids abused by US AIR, no refunds, waiting in lines for the last two days to have our kids wind up, … NOWHERE… and then finding out there were No Guaranteed seats for these kids on THAT BUS, he pretty much Blew a gasket- when someone tried to cut in front of them in line! My daughter was texting quickly, “Mom! Dad went up to some people that tried to get in front of the girls and ordered them to go to the back of the line!” Wait- it kept getting better! My daughter said she saw him losing control, and walked up to her father and said the words, “Dad, would you like me to call the Police?”
He said “YES!” This entire dialogue was done via text as she continued, “Mom, I have to find the POLICE in a hurry!” She DID! She actually old-fashioned, called me at this point, telling me the ordeal, saying, “I’m worried about DAD,” while she described the officers approach him and who she called, “the cutters!”
She said,“Hang on, I need to enjoy this!” I heard all kinds of commotion on my end of the phone; him with his irate attitude, while she was giggling into the receiver. Mind-bogglingly, if there is such a word, the officer did the right thing and sent the cheaters to the end of the line! By now, I was in a cold sweat while praying my kids would get on the bus and my husband would not wind up in prison! Due to those people leaving the line- our kids got on that bus! Twelve hours later on the 28th of Dec, they ARRIVED in NYC! That was a lotta’ travelin’ for little people in a short period of time! Needless to say, they did what I’ve taught them to do for their entire lives, and that was to “make it work!”
As for my husband and I, he became grayer, and I began medication! When I think back to this story, and remind the kids of what we all went through, they are the ones that say to me, “Mom! Haven’t you always taught us that being in situations like that builds character?” Those are the moments that I realize I’ve become my mom, and THEY will become ME.