Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Here's the difference...

So yesterday I recounted a particularly nightmarish overseas travel experience that culminated in me gibbering like a hysterical idiot in the Dublin airport.

That experience was called to mind by the travel craziness we dealt with on Saturday. Long story short, our cruise ship arrived in Vancouver at 6 in the a.m. My husband left it at 7:30 to get a rental car so we could get my son down to the Seattle airport for a 2:30 flight. It was supposed to be no problem. We got the minivan, loaded it with our mountains of luggage, and pointed toward the U.S.-Canadian border. Found that with no problem, but then sat there for almost three hours (it was supposed to be 90 minutes), waiting to clear the line. No way is my firstborn making his flight so we call the airline and find out that he can go standby for no charge at 4:30. We finally get to the airport and he misses boarding that flight by five minutes. So they book him onto the 6:30 flight and we settle in to wait. 45 minutes before that's supposed to board I look around the waiting area and realize something isn't right. It's emptier than it should be.

A trip to the counter reveals that the flight is delayed three hours so they diverted passengers to a flight landing in a nearby city and then they would be shuttled over to the original destination airport. Except they don't do that for unaccompanied minors and anyway, why are we just now asking about this? The flight is boarding in ten minutes. Can't put him on the next flight at 9:30 because kids can't fly by themselves after 9. So come back in the morning. Thanks for spending nine hours doing nothing today, though.

Two years ago, I would have at best thrown a royal hissy and more likely collapsed in fresh tears. But two years ago I was single mom working full-time and helping to care for a critically ill father. I didn't have the emotional reserves for the little things that went on outside of a tightly proscribed sphere. I had such raging control freak tendencies that any slight deviation I wasn't prepared for (and being a control freak, I always tried to prepare for anything I could think of) was enough to make me explode in any number of disturbing ways. My life worked only if it followed a very specific path. Surly ticket agents? Not on that path.

But in the time since, I've married, had another child, and acquired a set of rambunctious in-laws. I'm able to stay home with my kids and soak up each day a little more. So when everything started falling apart at the airport, I just shrugged and grinned at my son. "Cool. You get to hang out with us some more." I didn't freak out about the lost time or the frustration. I called my husband who was out roaming Seattle in our rented minivan with his parents. They picked us up at the curb and we set off to find the ferry, in good spirits, minds more or less intact.

The difference in two years stems from sharing burdens, knowing that someone is cheering for you, and taking the time to enjoy the small moments. Rather than begrudge the time sitting and waiting in the airport, I spent it instead enjoying my son's lego creations without an infant yanking my hair. It was kinda fun. I relaxed knowing that my husband was ready to swoop in and commiserate, his parents would cheer me up, and I got an extra day with my kid.

I love being married. I love having someone who's always on my team. I know that even when life gets stressful again (because it always does at some point), I'm part of a pair that can take it on the chin, lift each other up, and keep going with heads held high. I know that even though I don't need my husband to fix stuff for me (like travel disasters or burnt out lightbulbs or mean people at church) he'll gladly do it anyway. And even when I don't accept the help, I just breathe easier knowing it's there and it's a little easier soldiering on.

Seriously, I get why this is part of Heavenly Father's plan for us. Being married rocks.


Alison Wonderland said...


Nancy said...

great entry today...as usual.
I can picture it all. We had a horrible experience in Bellingham last September on the way to my niece's wedding in B.C. I also had the 24 hour flu at the time...but having Allen there made it all bearable. I am more afraid on my own, for one thing. xoxo nano
keep it up!

Julie Wright said...

AMEN! A supportive spouse makes everything better!

Kimberly said...

Amen! I know other gals already said that, but it's what immediately leapt to mind.

We grow and mature best when our lives are stable, don't we?