Excuse my absence – Brandon and I were on our first travel excursion together. It sounds much more thrilling than it was. Actually, I have nothing to complain about as far as the trip to Seattle goes. Steve and I got to the ticket counter and there a very helpful woman gave him a paper that allowed him through security to help me with the baby and all his belongings. Steve saw me onto the airplane and Brandon slept the whole way save for the bottles he drank. He was even nice enough to save his pooping for our layover. He was the perfect baby and people were helpful and things went smoothly.
Then came the return trip. It started off with rows and rows of full parking spaces. I love Eppley compared to everywhere else. Everywhere else sucks. After quite some time and a couple floors of full parking spaces, we found a parking spot. Then my 38-weeks-pregnant sister-in-law and my 4-year-old niece accompanied me and Brandon to the ticket counter with my hefty suitcase. It was there that the ticket agent told me to put my stroller up on the scale. “Why?” I asked, “I am going to use it through the airport and gate check it.”
“I need to make sure it’s not overweight,” she snapped back.
Now is it just me or does either way – ticket counter checked or gate checked – that stroller end up in the cargo hold? Regardless of the weight, it’s going to the same place. But what could I do? I was at the mercy of this cold-hearted, hateful, and I’m sure childless and bitter middle-aged woman. So of course the stroller was overweight. Even if it was a feather, I’m sure she would have told me it was overweight. She told me to take it to oversize baggage to check it. “This is my nightmare,” I said to my sister-in-law.
Then came time to heft my suitcase onto the scale. I’m holding a two-month old baby, my sister-in-law is about to give birth any second (not to mention she had been having contractions all night already), and our only other person to help is a four-year-old. You would think this is a time when someone would offer to help. Obviously not the witch from Hansel and Gretel behind the counter, but maybe another American Airlines employee, someone behind us in line, a person with a soul. No. No one like that was around. Just a bunch of mean-spirited hurried coastal-attitude travelers who tap their feet with impatience.
So my sister-in-law hefted the 51-pound suitcase onto the scale. No sooner had she done that that she heard a pop. And separated her pelvic bone, she later found out from her doctor. We had to go our separate ways, so I carried Brandon through the airport. I had both my hands and shoulders full. I felt like a mule. I couldn’t eat or anything because there was no place to put Brandon. Then on the plane, I had to change his diaper in my lap because there was no where else to do it.
Our layover was in Dallas/Ft. Worth, which I’m convinced is the world’s largest airport. I carried Brandon and salivated over food. By the time I made it to my connecting flight’s gate, it was already boarding. When we finally made it to Omaha and I was able to change the poopy diaper I had been smelling on Brandon for the last thirty minutes, I was so exhausted and hungry that I barely was able to feel relief. But then the second we saw Stephen waiting for us, I felt it. I am so happy that I have a partner for all the other days and that I don’t always have to do this alone. There is no place like home.