Wednesday, September 16, 2015

We Don't Always Get What We Want, and Other Vacations Thoughts

We are officially home from our week of Spring Break today, and I am thinking about our trip. This was the first big trip for us, just us girls. We did go to the beach with friends in June. We also went to D.C. with the family in November. But this was just us getting away as a family, and it was new terrain for me. On a whim, I booked a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando. We had wanted to go back since we first went in 2005. It was not as I imagined it, though. I never imagined going without Brian.

The girls were pretty excited as we headed out the door. At the airport, I instructed them to stay by the bags while I checked us in. The Delta employee gave me the first bad news of the evening. “Because of storms in the area, your flight is delayed and it might not leave at all tonight." She then suggested I might actually be better to drive to Atlanta than to wait in Birmingham. I don't know about you, but any solution that begins with a three-hour drive to Atlanta sounds a bit hasty to me. So I told her I would check in and take my chances. That's when she delivered the next round of bad news. I booked our flight online through Travelocity and there were "problems" with the reservation. These were not problems that she could solve and I had to call Travelocity Customer Service. In a nutshell, it was my mistake (Yes, It was my first rodeo flying with the kids). I booked myself and Alex a ticket, but when it came to Kristian (13) and Hatty (10) I misread the instructions. I thought I needed to book them under my name because they would not have I.D., and it clearly states that all passengers must have an ID. Just so you know-NEVER do this. There was no way to fix this problem, but it took two hours for me to understand this. I'm a bit slow. After two hours of hoping no one in the airport actually knew me (it was not my finest hour), the Delta employee found me behind a potted plant waiting on hold for my next attempt at saving the trip. She told me they figured out a way to let us on as 3 Traci Kings and 1 Alexis King. So I looked at my daughters #2 and #3 and said "if anyone asks your name is Traci. Got it?" They got it. "This is my daughter Traci and this is my other daughter Traci!" Hey, we're from Alabama, what did you really expect? That made for a good laugh for the rest of the week.
When we were finally able to board, they separated us and we all had different seats all over the plane. Hatty had these big puppy eyes that made think I would just tell the person beside her and they would have to understand and switch places with me. But in the end I told her she would be okay, and I went off to find my seat. I felt so bad for her having to sit by herself, and it had already been a long day. As I made my way to my seat, I told myself what I would do differently next time. Should have double checked the rules, stick with Southwest for customer service, etc.
Well, it’s Monday; so the trip happened. We had a great time. When the first flight landed in Atlanta over three hours late, I still didn't know if we would actually make it to Orlando. We were booked on three connecting flights hoping that we could catch one of them. As soon as we landed, I rushed up to make sure Hatty would not be looking for me (mother-hen). She was deep in conversation with her two new best friends, a couple in their 40's, she-ex marine he-marine. She beamed at me when she saw me and told me all about them. They had played Sudoku, and talked politics, and school. Hatty was sporting a bracelet given to her by the Marine made of special rope and clasped with a military button. My youngest has a way of making instant friends. It’s a gift. If we could bottle it...worth millions. As we ran to our connecting flight which had also been delayed by the weather, Hatty looks up and says "I had the best time." Then, "I'm actually glad I had to sit by myself."
We made our flight to Orlando. The trip from there was fun. As we waited for the first flight to leave Birmingham we all realized about the same time had it been on time, we would not have been on it because of the identification debacle. The delay was a blessing for us-we just didn't know that at first.

I thought about the trip today, I thought of all the fun we had "fast-passing" through the lines all the way to the front. The best was riding the front row on Dueling Dragons (Screaming the whole ride!), calling my girls "Traci-Ryan" and Traci-Ellen" all week, and Hatty reminding us - “It could be worse. We could have no arms and no legs!" more than once. But, what kept coming back to me today was how we don't always get what we want. We want everything to go smoothly. No Red lights when we're running behind. No long lines in the express lanes. No Flight Delays! No seat changes! No sickness. No disappointments. No sad goodbyes. But what happens when that is exactly what we get? - We have to take a detour. We regroup. We learn patience. We make new friends and create new memories. And...We gain perspective. And...We go on. And we find out that we can. And Hatty is right it could be worse, we could have no arms and no legs - or no Jesus.
March 2009