July 14, 2011

Gumby, LZ and ... me.

I needed a few weeks to heal, but I am ready to talk about the plane ride to Michigan. You know, the one that originated in Maryland (the most direct way to get from TX to MI, obviously) and was delayed an hour. The one that was already scheduled to depart after the kids' bedtime. On the day Silas skipped his nap.

So I had the two kids on my own - Rob wasn't heading north until the weekend after - but everything was going fairly well. I had secured my position as "the Mom who placates her children with unhealthy snacks," so everyone was in a food coma and sedated enough to fall asleep within .2 seconds of takeoff. Thrilled at my good luck (and luck it was - my kids are the most unreliable sleepers known to humankind...if you haven't yet read about this lovely facet of my mom life, feel free to enjoy my pain here), I read my book (A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, a stellar read!) the entire way.

And then we landed. And the kids woke up. Screaming.

And although I sometimes overuse and abuse hyperbole here and there, I'm not kidding about the screaming. They were the red-faced, scream-with-drool-strings-strung-across-a-gaping-mouth screams, the kind that make taxiing to the gate (and waiting for the loading ramp...and waiting for the plane to clear out while everyone just stands and stares at us) fairly horrendous. And there was nothing I could do. NOTHING worked. The kids were overtired and had just reached a deep enough sleep to make them unreasonable. I probably looked like the. worst. mom. ever. I know. Nothing new. But this was just so...public.

So it's my turn to clear out. I look at my two kids (who are now lying across several plane seats, screaming while trying to fall asleep again), my purse, Silas' diaper bag, and a rolling carry-on suitcase. I try to carry both kids (who, along with refusing to walk, are going all Gumby-style on me - you know, where they make their bones all rubbery so it's impossible to hold them in my arms) while rolling my suitcase. I try holding Jannika and potato-sacking Silas over my shoulder while rolling my suitcase. I even attempt to seat Silas onto the handle bars of the suitcase while carrying Jannika and dragging the other bags.

By this time both kids are sweaty and snotting (still screaming), but I've managed to let everyone else on the plane pass us and get far away from us as possible. And I look at this pile of snot and canvas and start to panic. I mean, really, how am I going to get all this off the plane??

Suddenly, here comes a lady barreling back down the plane aisle, announcing, "I have given all my bags to someone else. I am yours. Give me things to carry - children, bags, I don't care. Here, can I carry all these bags? Will your son let me hold him?" And she scooped up all my bags, and I scooped up all 70 pounds of sweaty, Gumby-limbed (still screaming) children, and we made the VERY LONG trek down Grand Rapids' Concourse A hallway.

And every 20 feet, amongst all the stares we were procuring, someone would catch my glazed-over eyes, smile, and call out over the screaming craziness, "I have kids. I know. Oh, I'm so sorry." I mean, really. Considering the drool trail we were leaving in our wake, it was so generous, I just wanted to cry.

And then my rescuer, after five minutes of wogging, shouted a little worriedly, "Do you need me to help you out to long-term parking? Or do you have someone meeting you here that can help?"

And as I looked down the last stretch of hallway into the far-off waiting area, I shouted in reply, "Oh no. See that blonde girl doubled over in laughter down there? That would be my empathizing sister. And see that tall guy with his head thrown back, guffawing? That's my concerned dad."

To which to woman shouted back with a smirk, "Looks like you're in good, sympathetic hands."

Best. Rescuer. Lady. Ever.

But that's not all. Oh, no. Because THEN there's an article on CNN that's posted shortly afterward by LZ Granderson. Check it out here. Love, love, love his articles. But look at the originating city. I have this horrible, vomitous feeling that it's talking about...*sniff*...ME. Me, the mom who has totally mastered "the look." Me, the mom who gets hints from her own mom that she may be too strict with her kids. Me, the mom who doesn't take crap but somehow ended up with screaming children on a plane. Me. I am so ashamed.


Amy Christianson said...

I have to admit, I did start crying.  What a sweet lady. 

Jennifer F. said...

Love that lady!  Love the article, too.  The irony of the city is pretty funny!  Ha ha!  So glad your helper lady showed up; I was starting to stress as I read...