My Zen · The Mollie Chronicles

The Day I Missed My Flight

Some days we are tested. Our strength and perseverance are truly tried by this thing we call life. Obstacles arise. Things rarely go as planned. So we do the best that we can; within those moments.

This Friday, now two days before I am able to write about it, and probably more than that before you will be reading about it, my ability to adapt and roll with the punches was tested.

Friday afternoon, my mother and I were to head for our homeland: Illinois. We’d had the flight planned for about a month. My father would be having surgery and my grandfather would be nearing the end of his life. Plus, it would be Mother’s Day.

My mother and I live in opposite directions of the airport, so we met in the middle. Everything went smoothly for me, but not for her. Several roadblocks arose: she was running late due to handling some family drama, she sat in unanticipated traffic and she got lost- twice.

It was at this moment that she called me: driving down the freeway, crying, frustrated, scared and still lost. It was 3:10 pm. We boarded our flight at 3:30. I knew we wouldn’t make it. She still had to park in remote parking and take a shuttle to the airport, at which point she needed to navigate her way through the check-in process and security while being that lady who arrived to the airport late but expected everyone else to help her catch her plane.

I’ve been that lady. It isn’t fun. But in that moment, I didn’t care. I didn’t care in this one either. All I cared about was getting my mother to that boarding gate in time to catch our flight. So I decided not to tell her she probably wouldn’t make it. I told her to take a few breaths and look around her; look at her map and find directions and just get to the parking area.

She did it. Whew. She made it to the parking area.

Then she called me again: crying, frustrated and feeling like a total let-down. The van from the shuttle service had broken down halfway to the airport. She was waiting for another: 3:30 pm.

She made it to the airport. She was that crazy lady making demands at the check-in counter and I’m sure making countless passengers upset. (Although I had talked with the workers prior to her arrival and they told her to come to the front of the line on her arrival).

She was nearly through the security line when the boarding agent told me the flight had been delayed 2 hours.

HUGE sigh of relief. I hugged him. I thought, “someone is watching over us. We are supposed to get on this plane.

I haven’t mentioned that there were thunderstorms in Chicago that the pilot directly told me would cause significant turbulence partway through the flight.

I hate turbulence.

So when the boarding agent told me the pilot was leaving on time, even though it was recommended he wait 2 hours…I decided maybe we weren’t supposed to get on that plane after all.

About the time the plane took off, my mother came limping/jogging down the hall to our boarding gate….did I mention she broke her foot a couple months ago and is recently out of a walking boot?

When I made the call to not get on the plane and completely miss our flight I wasn’t thinking about the cost, how we wouldn’t fly out tonight or how it completely changed our plans. I had a gut-feeling; instinct. And I followed it.

I was really relieved. The anxiety/ panic that I felt thinking about riding this plane was gone. The nervousness I felt about mom making it or not making it in time, was gone. I knew I had made the right choice.

Prepared to pay $600 more for our tickets to fly out on the next plane, I walked up to the ticket counter to the man that had been talking me through the entire previous hour. To my surprise, he was kind and generous. He rescheduled our flights for the following morning at no extra cost. There must have been only 2 seats available, and we took them.

I nearly cried. I hugged him again and thanked him for his kindness.

My mom was a hot mess. She felt defeated. She was stressed. She tried her hardest but on this day, her hardest wasn’t quite enough. We just sat down. In the airport. She collected herself and I got her some wine.

Those two hours of my day were incredibly stressful. Mom and I were both panicking and nervous. It was not easy. It was one of those moments when no matter how much I told myself everything would be okay, I was incredibly anxious anyway.

But we got through it. We rolled with the punches and made the best of our evening. We still had a great trip, even if it was for a short time. For whatever reason, mom and I were not meant to be on the airplane that day. All obstacles pointed against it and in the end everything worked out well.

It is interesting how life works this way. It reminds me that we are not always in charge of how our days will progress and we have to be okay with that. If we weren’t, life would be stressful and frustrating nearly all of the time.

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