My Worst Flight Ever

Well, Cecelia and I made it home last night after our five nights in Missouri. But the flight itself deserves a blog post all of it's own, my friends. In light of the actual tragedies America has endured this week in Boston and Texas, I realize this post might be a little silly. And my complaints are ridiculous compared to the sadness of this week. But I still want to blog about the trip home anyway because maybe it will seem funny and lighthearted looking back (not at the time). Who doesn't need a little chuckle at my misfortunes, anyway?

My dad drove Cecelia and I to St. Louis yesterday to catch our flight home. I was already feeling emotionally unstable after saying goodbye to my parent's house for the final time but it was sunny and 80 degrees outside, so it was a nice ride. Love that time to chat with the pops and Cecelia napped in the car the entire time (never happens!). Life was good.

As soon as we entered the terminal my heart sank. The lines were astronomical, especially for a random Wednesday afternoon. I already had my boarding pass but because Southwest makes you go to the counter anyway if you have an infant, I had to stand in the longest line ever just so one guy could add 'infant in lap' to my pass. Annoying, and 30 minutes of my time. Dad stood in that line with us since I had my checked bag at that point and then said goodbye to us as we stood in another 30 minute line to go through security.

Needless to say, once we had stood in lines for 1 hour with Cecelia in the stroller she was kind of over it. I let her get down on the airport germ-infested carpet to crawl around and burn some energy as we waited to board our flight, just because I knew the 1 hour in the air might be rough with her being so antsy already. Oh, the foreshadowing.

We boarded the flight (after I wrestled my giant carry-on bag and umbrella stroller with a wiggly baby who just wanted to get down) and found a window seat. The flight attendant kept warning us that this was a totally full flight so every seat would be filled but somehow by the grace of God the middle seat next to me remained empty, and the aisle seat contained a very nice middle aged man from mid-MO who became my bestie during this debacle. This was blessing number one, I've decided---that on a 'totally full' flight there was somehow an empty seat next to me which I used to it's fullest potential to house my restless baby numerous times.

So we were all ready to take off and it was 4:55pm--I was counting down the minutes until we could see Truman and Nate in Milwaukee, and I texted to say everything looked good and we'd see them at 6pm.

But then all hell broke loose (prepare for a dramatic description of the rest of the trip). The pilot came on to say that they just got word of bad weather in Chicago, which was directly in our flight path. So we'd have to sit and wait a bit until air traffic control decided what to do. Then 15 minutes later he came back on half-way chuckling (an evil laugh from my perspective) to say that the weather was so bad, the controller wanted us to fly out to Colorado (oh, the irony!), then to Kansas, Nebraska, and eventually Wisconsin. OMG. WTF. He said that would add at least another 1.5 hours onto the original flight and we needed more fuel to complete this ridiculous path, so we had to taxi back to the airport to get gas. This was the first point in the trip I almost cried, but definitely not the last.

We waited some more and the pilot came on to say that on second thought, the new flight path was a dumb idea and he was trying to find someone else to give us clearance directly north. This is when I fell in love with our pilot. But my love affair with him was teetering on the edge of hatred because didn't he know I had a 10.5 month old in my lap who did NOT care about 'weather' in Chicago?! Chicago! Why did you have to have bad weather?!

I was the only parent with a child on the plane. And let me tell you, I was trying to embrace my role but I was sweating, edging towards panic attacks, and cursing under my breath while trying to appease my baby girl. I pulled out every snack I had packed and shared a few stale graham crackers with Cecelia for our dinner. I let her completely annihilate a few Sky Mall magazines--so sorry to whoever gets those  crumpled treasures next. My favorite part of the magazine phase was when the flight attendant stopped by to ask if we wanted any water riiiiight as Cecelia ripped a huge page out of the magazine. I just smiled sweetly and said, 'Sure' hoping she wouldn't give me a death glare for letting my child destroy the plane.

We played with the lap tray, the window shade, and my phone until our minds were numb with boredom. I tried nursing her twice which did calm her down momentarily, but not completely. I'm certain that Cecelia might have even licked the entire fabric seat in front of us at one point but obviously, anything goes at this point of special torture. Eventually I told my best bud in the aisle seat I needed to get up with her--so C and I walked up and down the aisle, and eventually stood up in the back by the bathroom. It's pretty interesting to explore the little room with the cups and sodas and napkins. Did you know that babies can drink out of water cups with ice and then slam their hands into the cubes repetitively to pass 30 minutes of hellish time on an airplane? And then haggard moms will actually eat those same grimy ice cubes in desperation? Because Cecelia thought it was hilarious to hear me crunch ice and I was at her mercy. I would have stood on my head if it kept her happy.

While standing at the back of the plane we met a few very sweet passengers on their way to the bathroom. One very tough-looking black man stopped to say, 'That is one cute baby you have there.' Another business man smiled and waved at Cecelia and didn't seem to mind that both of us girls were complete hot messes at this point, dripping in water and sweat and remnants of graham crackers. Cecelia got cranky again so I made my way back to the seat, just as a woman stopped by to ask if she could help in any way, offering to change seats with my buddy in the aisle because she had twins and OMG--this must be horrible for me. This was the second time I wanted to cry on the plane because these strangers were all being way too kind. If only they could see that I was nearing my limit of mental sanity and praying without abandon to PLEASE let this plane take off soon.

Eventually the pilot came back on to say that he had talked to some other aircrafts who went for the Chicago route just now and they survived the trip, so he was going to persuade air traffic control to let him do the same. He was going to pull us away from the airport and go for it as soon as he got clearance. If that didn't work he said they were going to do the longer route. Praying commenced again on my end. Cecelia was being SO good but she was past her limit of being confined and I cannot blame her.



The voice of our pilot saying, 'Thank you for being patient, we are cleared for take off and should touch down in Milwaukee in an hour,' was the best thing ever. People were actually cheering and clapping. It was 7:10 pm at this point--over 2 hours sitting on this godforsaken plane since we originally boarded.

I texted Nate again with the good news and was anxious as can be to get home. Poor Truman had been AWESOME for Nate all five nights that I was away. But this whole waiting to hear if mom was going to make it home thing was too much. He was hysterical all evening, truly inconsolable. I guess he was crying and whining, 'I just want something to make me happy!' over and over. Nate provided the heavy hitters of fruit snacks, TV, and chocolate milk but nothing helped. Finally Nate said, 'Do you just miss mommy?' and Truman cried, 'Yeaahhhhhhhhh' and was beside himself;( Break my heart. When they finally left for the airport Truman told Nate, 'Daddy, mommy is my best friend.' Sigh. Both of my kids were trying so hard to be patient but it just sucked!


We finally took off around 7:15 and Cecelia lost it. I pulled her under the nursing cover and I was numb at this point. She actually fell asleep as we were ascending and stayed asleep during the whole flight home. Blessing #2 or 3, if you count the fact that we did NOT have to fly all the way out to Colorado or have a layover somewhere as an additional blessing. But let me tell you that this was the most turbulent flight I've ever experienced in my life. The pilot apologized but said basically, 'Hold onto your butts' because it was going to be bad. He didn't even allow them to give us 'refreshments' mid-flight because none of us were allowed to take off our seatbelts. I was SO looking forward to my splurge Diet Dr. Pepper, too. One time I had to brace myself on the seat in front of me and wanted to cry (again) while I tried to shield Cecelia's nursing little head from slamming into anything. The gentlemen in my row was nice enough to strike up a conversation about biochemistry while we were bouncing to and fro and it did help me take my mind off our imminent deaths.


The landing was pretty awful but finally, at 8pm we landed on Milwaukee ground. Hallelujah. Cecelia woke up when we got off the plane and I put her in the stroller and practically sprinted to the baggage claim. Also, did I mention that I was starving and had not eaten dinner yet, only crumbs of half-eaten baby snacks? I don't do well when I'm hungry. And I just wanted to get home.

As we approached the baggage claim I spotted our men waiting for us. Nate was holding Truman and poor T looked as emotionally spent as I felt. T grinned but let out a big sigh when he saw us and I thought he was going to cry. I looked down at C in the stroller and she reached both of her arms out towards Nate and Truman and had the biggest smile on her sleepy face ever. Nate and I hugged and kissed, Truman went over to Cecelia first and kissed her head about 3 different times, and then I demanded a hug and a kiss from him, too. He seemed happy to see me but a little mad at me for being gone so long. He recovered quickly, though, and was sprinting through the airport with his family reunited in no time.

As we waited for my bag, I had two separate women come up to me to tell me they were thinking of me on the flight and were stunned with how great CC and I handled the whole thing. Which is really surprising and sweet since I thought it was pretty obvious I was close to breaking down. Nate kind of looked at me like, 'Wow, it must have been pretty bad if two strangers just came up to you to say 'glad you survived!' A freaking two hour delay on the plane. There are worse things in life but at the time it was pretty awful, I can assure you of that. Also, it was a whopping 37 degrees in Wisconsin when we got home. Pretty harsh reality after weather in the 70s and 80s 'down south!'

We got home after 9 and put both kids to bed around 9:30--so incredibly late, but whatever. Truman hugged me and said 'I missed you, mama' a lot during our bedtime together. I love that kid so much. I unpacked and showered because OMG, I have never needed one so badly. I attempted to have a beer while scarfing down pizza for dinner but I couldn't even finish the brew I wanted so badly. Passing out in my own bed with my husband and two kids down the hall, was like heaven. And all day today Truman has been so incredibly sweet, coming up to me saying, 'My mommy' over and over again while hugging me. He told me that he was 'super duper excited' to get Cecelia out of her crib this 8:20 am. She did wake up once last night at 5am to nurse but then slept in REALLY late for her! And right now she is rounding the two hour mark for her first nap. I think she is a little bit tired.

So anyway, flying alone with one child is usually not this eventful. But coming off an emotionally draining weekend just to sit on the plane for 2 hours when I was eager to get home was pretty ridiculous. At least Cecelia didn't need a diaper change in the middle of all of this like Truman did at this age. At least we DID make it home. But I'm obviously pretty happy to hang with both of my kiddos all day today, soaking up the hugs and newness of being back home before Truman gets sick of me again;)

And so concludes the story of the worst flight ever. Onto compose a post about seeing my childhood home for the last time. Lots of emotions coming out of my blog lately, I suppose!


  1. Oh boy. I got anxious just reading this post. I am happy it worked out for the best in the end and you are all reunited again.

  2. Oh dear, Julia. This sounds like torture. As I've mentioned before I am terrified of flying so I would not have done well at all with all the turbulence! That is so nice that people were trying to help.

  3. I was sweating just reading this! Flying with kids is no joke. I constantly say they need a kid friendly flight - don't know how that would even work but it sounds like a good idea! Sippy cups for the kids, adult beverages for the parents.

  4. Omg sounds like our flight home from Hawaii a couple of years ago...Jacob was only 7 months and hubby booked a red eye flight that was delayed and re-routed. I thought I was going crazy towards the end of that flight, let me tell you.

  5. I'm with Andrea, flying with kids is no joke!

    I've passed hours in the back of the plane by the bathroom, you're in good company! I'm sure some day we'll be able to pay back the kindness of strangers on the plane. Glad you made it - thanks for sharing, this post made me smile.

  6. Okay at first I was laughing along like yep been there too with a little one by myself but then I got to the part where you had to sit on a plane that wasn't moving for 2 hours. Girl......I feel for you that is brutal and poor Miss C! (well and poor you too, mommy sanity is not to be taken lightly!) Glad you guys finally made it home!

  7. Ok the part where CC destroyed the magazines and then licked the entire fabric back of the chair really had me laughing while I was waiting with my 10th my old for a chest X-ray (he's ok... they thought it was pneumonia though!) Glad you made it home in one piece!

  8. Reaaaallly can't imagine being on a plane for 2 hours without it moving. There's no a/c either during that time (right?) so I bet it was flippin' hot in there! Ugh! Glad you made it out ok :)

  9. Literally laughed out loud several times in this post. So glad you all made it back home in one piece!

  10. Your Truman is so sweet. And this story does not make me feel any more comfortable about taking my kid on her first flight this fall. Glad you guys survived it in the end!

  11. Your Truman is so sweet. This story does not make me feel anymore comfortable about the first flight we have planned with our kid this fall. Glad you guys survived in the end!

  12. I know the feeling! We just got back from sunny California only to still have three feet of snow in our backyard. Living in Alaska makes all of our flights at least five hours which is painful and really painful when we have to change planes somewhere. By the time I have hefted my carry on bags, the gigantic carseat and the toddler on the plane, I'm covered in sweat. It's just not pretty. Glad you are home. :)

  13. Oh my goodness. This kind of thing is what I fear every time I set foot on a plane and why I've become somewhat vacation-averse when it comes to going places with the kids. How miserable. So glad it ended well!

  14. Oh man, how horrible! I had such an icky feeling for you just reading about this!


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