Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A most incredible trip and family I cherish

Wow, talk about your wild trips! My near miss Thursday morning should have been an indicator of what was to come. Nothing had me prepared for this past weekend chucked full of family, fun and surprises! I'm still amazed!

Friday morning we headed to the airport all of 2 hours early, after checking in and loading up everything but the children the night before. We encountered a bit more of our glorious Atlanta morning traffic than I had planned for, not a good sign of things to come.

Shortly I discovered my belief that I could check the aforementioned 3 bags (2 large /1 small) at the curb was false. I was informed by a dutiful Atlanta officer, if I attempted to leave my parked car with grandchildren in it and check my bags directly in front of said parking place, I would be towed away, car, not me. I guess along with the children...I don't know... I left before finding out.

We then headed back around the airport, terminal exit and entrance to find a parking place, hopefully somewhere close. I found myself praying for that illusive spot, at the same time wondering just how I was going to get my crew and all our travel gear into the terminal at ALL... much less in time for our flight. I had truly Scarlet moment, we would think about the flight...later.

Once a space was found, we set about the task of utilizing the baby stroller using every available limb to pile, push and pull our belongings into the airport. In retrospect I recall passing an abandoned baggage cart or two while cruising the parking garage, I'm not sure where I would have put it, but I really shoulda grab me one!

Instead, please visualize a Joovy stroller like this one
piled with one large suitcase, one small princess suitcase, a diaper bag, purse and laptop bag strung to the handles. All the while my grandson sat calmly under his convertible hood with the above mentioned princess bag on top.

I assigned my granddaughter the task of pushing the luggage float, as near to me as I dared while I pulled the remaining large and small adult bags, guiding our caravan while spotting the Princess bag as it balanced precariously back and forth with the not so steady motion of our trek. We did keep our guardian angels busy!

I would like to report that my 5 year old grandchild navigated each hill, twist and turn of the path from garage to terminal with a song in her heart, a skip in her step, and a smile on her precious face, but that would be a lie. Instead, she rightfully questioned "are we almost there?" beginning 50 feet into our journey and thus continuing until we made it inside the terminal doors a good 800 feet or more later.

Our progress was ooh so slow, creeping pulling and pushing, all the while I encouraged my granddaughter, "Come on Sweetie! We have to have the bags checked 45 minutes before departure. We can do it!!" in the most peppy Grandma voice I could muster. I was oblivious to the strains and aches calling out from every joint and muscle of my body. I was operating on pure adrenaline!

(It should be noted we encountered several groups of travelers who both ignored and found amusement in our parade. Sadly one group even cut us off at the final leg as we crossed the gateway, (instead of using the OTHER set of doors. ) to which my grandchild yelled "Hey!"

Immediately inside the doorway we were able to procure a luggage cart, and pile everything we could on it. We each grabbed a buggy and headed for the elevator...yes the elevator! We were of coarse on the wrong level for baggage check-in. We waited our turn, caught our collective breath, then took a ride up.

Once the doors opened we maneuver out and headed to our ticket/check in counter. There were many agents with many more lines backed up and waiting. A airline employee asked where we were headed and our flight time.

'Oh, you won't make that flight, you will have to get on standby for a later one'. We were just at the 45 minute cutoff.

'It doesn't matter. Here get in this line.' as she directed us to what we later understood to be the 'special' line, and I don't mean blue plate special!

We then waited with other 'special' folks who for whatever reason, found themselves spending a bit more time in our fine city. For the next hour we waited and waited...and waited.

The little guys were doing remarkably well, although now getting just a tad tired of staying in one place with neither food, milk or water. My grandson is not accustom to being confined in his stroller while not going somewhere. It got a bit ugly, thrown and crushed goldfish, one lost 'Squeaky' shoe...sad, really sad.

Eventually, we were put on standby status for a flight 3 hours later.

Ever had to entertained a toddler and 5 year old at the airport for 3 hours? You don't want to do it. Challenging...really challenging!

We managed to pass the time and get new seats on the next flight. Just as we completed our gate check in, another set of passengers passed out (one) and fell down (both). It might have been comical except that it appeared very serious. The airport paramedics arrived and assure us the pair would NOT be making this flight.

Once on board we located our new seats: In the 'children's section' of the plane (the rear). We, along with about 8 other babies and small children.

One little gal was screaming her lungs out for all she was worth and we had not even left the ground. My grandson found this mildly entertaining, choosing not chime in at the time. We waited some more.

Soon it was 30 minutes past the scheduled take off time, the doors were closed and still we sat, my grandson had now joined the chorus, well actually took lead vocals of the cry fest that ultimately ensued. My little man just wanted 'down'. What was the hold up?

Suddenly the doors are open again and who should come in but the ailing twosome. Both sufficiently recovered to join us after all. Mystery solved!

The remainder of the flight I got to play 'wrestle mania' with my grandson (he does not sleep well anywhere but his bed) and arrived at Lambert Airport with a natural rosy glowing complexion compliments of my little guy.

By the time we arrived some 4 plus hours later we were all ready for naps...but that was not to be. Instead, we just had time to wipe off, grab a quick bite, change clothes and head to downtown St. Louis for a trip up in

the Gateway Arch (a first for all the grands),

and a Cardinal game.

We all had the best time. A real blast!! Truly. The kids were fabulous, the game was wonderful, Albert hit a home run, the Cards beat the Pirates soundly, and we got out and into our van just before torrential rains and lightening storms blasted the city. The ride home was beautiful... a real light show! We slept sooo good!

The next afternoon, we had tickets for 'Go Diego Go Live'. The fellas and children hung out at our suite while my darling daughter in law Elizabeth and I went shopping for party supplies. I had shipped many directly to her and brought gifts and more (ergo the 2nd large suitcase).

On our way back from the party supply store,we stopped to grab some lunch to feed everyone before heading to the show. While we had been shopping, my Beth had been filling me in on her own recent family trips. During the course of our outing and conversations she shared with me the most wonderful news, her decision to accept Jesus as her Savior. Oh my is God not good?

The two of us had been sharing, chatting, praying, crying, texting, emailing...oh you get the picture...over this for so long. She elected to tell me in person. I am so glad she did! I have always adorned my daughter in law, anyone who knows me knows just how I feel about her. But now...she's practically perfect in every way!! (so much more than Julie Andrews!!).

We bawled, hugged and made everybody wait in the drive thru line, time stood still and my heart about burst!

The remainder of the weekend was such a joy and celebration beyond anything I had thought to expect.

My sweet girl plans on coming to Georgia to be baptized, said she wanted to do it here, with us...I could not be more honored and delighted!

For all these many blessings, a most incredible trip and family I cherish... oh Lord I am once again so

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