I am from New Orleans, a fact that never ceases to surprise others when they learn it.
I guess it’s because I don’t have a New Orleans accent and I am not known for my cooking, but rather my baking.
In any case, I traveled home to visit my mother with my little girl and some rest and relaxation.
Well, as much relaxation as one can hope for when traveling with a toddler.
I know from running around in the car with her to do anything, it ALWAYS takes more time than you think, and missing my flight makes me nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, so we were two hours early. This also helped me to relax, relax, relax and take things as they came. I had trepidation and excitement as I headed to the airport with the little one.
However, taking a page from my good friend Rachel’s book, I decided to let go of my expectations and welcome what came my way, good or bad. I was VERY lucky on this trip and I had some difficulties too, so it was definitely a mixed bag.
First, way back in February when we booked the flight, I found out that if your child is less than two years old, you are allowed to travel for FREE with them, and they can sit on your lap while you fly. Not super comfortable, but definitely more affordable than two tickets.
Something I found out is that you need a birth certificate or medical records to prove their age. I didn’t know that, so I had a very scary moment as I waited for the skycap to determine if he was going to require it or let it go. Luck was with me, and he let it go.
So inside the Austin airport, I went through security with my one stuffed to the gills diaper bag, my daughter, and her stroller. I had to put her stroller, my diaper bag and shoes through conveyor and then my diaper bag needed “further checks” so I had to wait while they did those as well. Sounds simple enough, but try it with a squirmy toddler and get back to me about the level of difficulty involved.
I picked the very back of the plane hoping that people would be less likely to want to sit with us and we could hopefully have a row all to ourselves, that did not happen but as luck would have it, a mother with grown children sat next to us and as she was taking her seat she said, “Feel free to use this seat so she can spread out” Bless you, Stacey! We wound up having a really lovely conversation and Vivienne was an absolute angel and while restless, she was well-behaved for the most part and passed out about 10 minutes before we landed. It’s worth noting that it’s an hour long flight so a good introduction to flying. It remains to be seen how she would do on a longer flight.
On our way back, we got to the airport three hours early. As a New Orleans native, I can tell you, traffic is unpredictable and you really don’t want to leave it to the last minute. We checked in, no problems! I had not managed to have a po-boy during the trip so I headed to the airport bar thinking surely they would have a po-boy on the menu in one of the restaurants. Not so much. They had an oyster dish that I thought that would be good, and as I ordered it, I mentioned I was a local and they could “dress it” (using the lingo, I thought surely I would be in the clear. Again, not so much.
I realized this would be my only chance to get a po-boy for a while so I was polite and firm and said, I am a local and please remake this for me and serve it on French bread, so I made my own po-boy happen. It was delicious and I felt very satisfied.
We then went through security which had a very lovely “strollers section” so I think security took all of 5 minutes!!!! WOOHOO!!! We made our way through the airport, about two hours before boarding time and I took a seat in our boarding area and was playing happily with Vivienne with her blocks and books and after a while, I checked in with the gate attendant and she let me know the flight was running an hour late. Okay, minor wrinkle, we can handle that. I then realized my phone was a little low on battery so I went to charge it, and while standing at the charging station, I met two very lovely people who were also charging their phones and a wonderful thing happened. We talked about how people don’t TALK any more, they are constantly on devices or working or rushing to their next flight. We had a lovely time talking and I got an update that the flight was in fact on time, and we parted ways but not before connecting on social media. I find the irony of that very satisfying. We were social as we were unable to be on social media.
As I boarded the plane, I heard the angel taking tickets say, ““Ma’am, the flight is not full, so feel free to seat her next to you” Music to MY EARS!!!!! Thank you Southwest Airlines!
I think that the kindness of strangers played a strong role in making our trip great, fairly appropriate when you consider I was in New Orleans at the time.
What kindness could you offer a stranger in your own hometown, in your own office, or maybe in your circle.
Is there someone you can make smile? Offer them a sincere compliment, or do something to make their day?
Think About It.