Last week my son, Cooper, and I flew to visit my parents. It’s a bit of a trek, and with a little guy dashing from the shuttle trains to moving walkways and escalators, a calm resolve can evaporate quickly.
We had a long layover at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, and I was lucky to find a playground for Cooper, so I could settle in with my book and relax for a few minutes. Too soon, though, we had to grab a bite to eat and go to our gate — little did I know, there had been a gate change. It was after the last minute bathroom break that I finally clued in on the situation, hmmm…this is really strange . . . there aren’t that many people on this flight and why aren’t we boarding? I took a look at the departures board, found our new gate, and we were off and running – literally! By the time we arrived, though, the stewardess had just closed the door. The plane was there but we had just missed the cutoff. Frustrated tears filled my eyes, and I said to Cooper, “Buddy, mommy really messed up.”
We soon found ourselves behind more than 40 people in the customer service line. It was tough: a flight had just been canceled and we were stuck right behind most of those angry and tired passengers. During the wait, I set my son up with the DVD player and a movie, but it was a no-go. He had reached his limit and the meltdown was imminent.
Then something amazing happened. Over the course of the next 20 minutes, I realized I was part of something much larger: an army of mommies who magically swoop in with crackers, cookies, water, juice boxes, to help with your child or stand in your place in line so you can take your little one to the bathroom. They’d been in my shoes somewhere sometime, and they actually wanted to help. I was so touched by their compassion that it turned my night around (plus the customer service agent took pity on us, and gave us a complimentary room, which helped a lot, too).
So I just want to say “thank you” to the army of mommies who look out for each other and our little ones. I can’t imagine facing the perils of an airport without you!
– Michelle Brandriss