We sit at Gate A23, only a brief layover until we are to board our flight from Phoenix, AZ to Charlotte, NC.
Where is that boarding call?
And suddenly, it’s, I think we are at the wrong gate and our flight is supposed to leave like.RIGHT.now!
This is where you imagine me running, okay, crawl-sprinting, through the terminal, to the other side of the airport, where our flight has changed gates. As I’m huffing and puffing, and for the first time wishing I were a runner, my tongue curls up from dehydration. My chest pounds and I think, I’m going to die. I’m going to pass out right here on the terminal floor.
As in, Remember that lady who died on the way to Gate A7?
Yea, too bad she wasn’t a runner.
Adrenaline kicks and I pass an airport employee rocking his neon green vest.
Do you have a radio? Maybe he can call ahead and warn our gate, There’s a crazy lady running onto the plane with her tongue hanging out. Would you please have a lemon spritzer on hand?
Nah, I don’t have a radio.
What? You’re fired. I
whizz slow-jog past.
Rounding the corner, I see the gate- it’s only two miles ahead. By now I am a sweaty, stinky, froey mess, and as each leg pumps, it crushes the $800 chicken caesar wrap in my purse that’s supposed to be dinner. Never fear, I push for the final destination.
Only to arrive at the gate to find the doors locked. Ghost town.
Eight minutes, friends. We missed our plane by eight minutes. And just in case you didn’t know, once the doors are closed, they will not open them. Not for me. Not for you. Maybe Obama.
The next flight is 12 hours later. It’s here I realize my options. I can lay on the terminal floor, and pass out from the world’s most horrible run attempt, or, I can imagine a debut in the imaginary reality show, Adventures at the Airport. I opt for the latter as ‘Lil Mom and I approach the opportunity to be the first humans to sample every food item in the Phoenix airport, befriend employees, and score an epic dream catcher from the Arizona novelty store. Yes!
How often do we have our plan, our destination, when bam life changes the gate on us and suddenly we are scrambling to make sense of what’s next? I imagine each day presents Adventures at the Airport; choices to whine and throw adult temper-tantrums or say, I am not in control of anything but my attitude, and in this moment, wine at 2pm is a perfectly sane decision.
And so the day turns into a progressive airport meal adventure. It begins at Chelsea’s Kitchen where we sit on our knees at a high booth and graze on short rib tacos smothered in guacamole. We people-watch as families, and pregnant ladies wearing geometric-patterned maxis, head to and from. Military men march by, along with cute couples that are well-matched. Life buzzes all-around. Meanwhile, ‘Lil Mom and I enjoy prickly pear margaritas and dry wine and upcycle our airport stay.
Following afternoon dinner, we take up residency at the Peet’s Coffee on the corner of A Terminal and Ground Transportation, sipping iced coffees. We talk of parenting, grandparenting, about how we are learning from our failures. We spur one another on in asking open-ended questions, and agree that relationships are always a worth-while goal when pointed toward love, toward communication, toward Jesus. As 12 hours pass – sometimes quickly, other moments at a snail’s pace – we wait for our flight.
And I realize, before we even get to where we are going, we are creating unforgettable memories in the waiting.
When was the last time your plans went awry? How did you react? Looking back, what did the situation teach you?
Psalm 37:34 Wait for the LORD and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.