my soft spot

just a mom who plays hockey and knits

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Aaaand... she's back

I have a renewed desire to blog.

FB and tweeting are lovely, but not what I need, sometimes. So, here's an update...

Let's see. G took an airplane by himself up to Portland. He didn't take it well when I first introduced the idea--very upset. Finally, tearfully tells me I'll have to write down the steps to checking in, finding the baggage area, collecting bags.... I use two plates (airports), three spoons (me, him, my mom), and a big serving spoon (airplane) to show him how I'll take him right to the gate, he'll be on the plane alone, but Memah (my mom) will meet him right at the gate in Portland. He is relieved, and starts to get excited about the flight.

Fast-forward to the morning of. I wake at 5:30AM and answer the phone shortly thereafter. It's my sister; my mom has been trying to reach me since 4:15AM. (Sending up prayers of thanks for the bedside phone not working.)

There's been a big windstorm--gusts over 50MPH, one website says--and Mom's power is out. She points out that one time, the power was out for 4 days. Maybe G shouldn't come.


I say, "Well, what do you do when the power's out? You heat your home with the wood stove, cook on it, and read by candlelight or lantern light. Sounds like an adventure to me!" I also point out that even though the power was out once in the past 10 yrs for 4 days, it likely won't be out for 4 days this time.

By now, we need to load up the car and leave for the airport. Southwest's website said to be there 2 hours before flight time, which puts us there at 7AM, ugh. I compromise by planning to leave for the airport at 7 (it's about a 15 min drive). I would have been there by 7:15AM if I hadn't missed the turn for short-term parking, necessitating another trip round.

I check him in, with the paper that lists my info, Mom's info, and the secondary pickup person's info (my sister's ex-SIL and our family friend, E). G gets a big blue plastic neck-hanger thingy for his info and boarding pass, which he likes. We get in line for security--it's short, thank God--and as we get up to the x-ray machine and send things through, a security guy asks G if the blue backpack is his. Yep. Well, it has a sealed bottle of water in it, leftover from Snack Time at school this past week. He thought it'd be handy for the trip, and I hadn't thought to coach him on acceptable things to bring. The guy has to keep it. G is bereft. The guy offers for us to exit security, drink it, and pass back on through. I smile and decline.

My cell rings. It's my mom. She can't actually get off the Peninsula (it's a 2.5 hr drive, so she's already trying to get on the road)--trees are down, blocking the road. She's panicking, wondering again if we should cancel. A guy at the blockage thought the road would be blocked for 2 hours. I point out that it's just a guy, not a road-service crew. I encourage her to call the Washington version of CalTrans, to see if there's an official estimate.

I call Southwest, to see if I can get G on a later flight. The only later flight is at 12:45, there is one seat, and it'll cost me more than twice what I paid for his flight to get G on it. Ridiculous.

I call Erin, hating that I'm calling anyone at 7:30AM on a Sunday morning. Thankfully, she is up and ready for action. We talk about the specifics (flight time) and possibilities (what if Mom can't pick him up until tomorrow? She has a super-early Monday meeting... maybe her mom, G's third grandmother, can take him). She says she'll pop into the shower and get ready to head out to the airport. I call back to let her know the flight is due in 15 mins later than I'd thought, which gives her a bit more wiggle room.

We've exited security (and retrieved the water bottle from Mr. Nice Security Guy, to drink while outside) during all this, so now have to get back in line. Predictably, the line is WAY longer than it had been. We get through without incident, but by the time we get to the gate, they're actually preboarding his flight, 30 minutes early, wow. I talk to the gate agent about G being an Unaccompanied Minor, and point out that I need to get some breakfast for him. She suggests that she board him and then bring his Burger King breakfast to him. I ask if we couldn't go to get the breakfast together and THEN board him. She relents. We RUN to BK and the guy gets the order out in lightspeed time (seriously, I have no idea how they did it that fast). We run back. I separate our breakfasts so he has his own bag. He bursts into tears. The reality has hit him. I'm doing my best to have an encouraging, loving face and hide my tears. We hug and hug and hug once more. The gate agent takes him down herself. My poor lamb is openly wailing now.

When she returns, she lets me know that by the time she got him seated, he was talking a bit and the tears just dribbling down his face. I move to a window where I can see the plane, and wave just in case he can see me. I wait and wait and wait for it to board, close up, and pull back from the gate. I cry and watch and cry and watch. Finally, it pulls back, I wave once more, and then it's out of sight.

I sit in the airport for a bit, gathering myself. I call my sister, my support. She listens and is kind.

I head home and wait for the flight to arrive. I consider going to church but can't bring myself to, knowing that with the offering of support and love, that I'd be a blubbering mass.

Finally, my cell rings. It isn't E--it's G himself! "Hi, Mom." I find out later that E arrived just as the plane pulls up, and they get to the baggage carousel just as G spots his bags going around. I'm glad E didn't have to wait forever. It is such a huge favor she's doing me.

I'm very glad of my sister's suggestion--I tell G that "Auntie E" has Playstation, Wii, and an air hockey table. He is instantly reassured: "I'm so glad you told me that, Mom." He chats with them and is at ease until 1PM, when my mom arrives to collect him, not even stopping for a cup of coffee with E, as I'd predicted. ("She didn't even want to sit down for a second!" Yep, that's my mom.)

They get the electricity back on that evening, and have a good 4 days together. But on Wednesday, as we're supposed to be leaving my sister's house in her van with 4 humans and 3 dogs, he calls, asking "Are you close?", having not realized that he's calling Ashland, OR, a 7.5-hour drive away. And unfortunately, due to awful traffic north of Eugene, the trip takes about 10.5 hours.

It is great to arrive, though.


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