Saturday, November 2, 2013

Last Week and the Kindness of Strangers

I’m tired of funerals.
And I’m tired of sitting in the front row at funerals.

My grandma’s funeral was really lovely, however. 
A truly special tribute to who she was and how well she lived her life and how much she loved the Lord. 
We made it to the US in time to be there for the calling hours and the memorial service.

I think I mentioned that I was flying alone with both kids?
Well, I did it.  We did it.
And it was no trouble at all.
Tiring, but no trouble.
Shawn drove us two and a half hours to Frankfurt and we flew from there to Philadelphia, had a four hour layover and then flew to Akron.

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Getting through security in Frankfurt was a bit tricky, what with the car seat, stroller and hand luggage, but there was a retired American couple from Alabama (read: Southern folks with grandkids AND manners) behind us in line and they were more than happy to help with all the gear.
When we got settled into our seats, I flagged the flight attendant down and told her that I was probably going to be a tad on the high maintenance side because I was traveling alone with two kids, on my way to my grandma’s funeral and that I tend to have a wee bit of anxiety when flying. 

It turns out that we weren’t all that high maintenance.  Finley napped on and off, Hannah colored, played with her horses, watched a few movies and I spent the entire time making sure everyone was fed and comfortable.

With one dirty diaper, one spilled drink and one wardrobe change thanks to some baby spit-up, before we knew it, nine hours had passed and we were landing in Philadelphia.  I’m totally kidding when I say “before we knew it” because in reality being on a plane for NINE HOURS alone with a baby and a child is kind of like being trapped in the place where TIME STANDS STILL. 

We sailed easily through customs, immigration and security and still had two hours left until our connection so we found a play area, got some snacks and hung out there until it was time to take the shuttle to the next terminal.  We were the only passengers on the shuttle and the driver got out to help me lift the stroller and bags on.  He did the same thing when we arrived.  

There was a stranger at every step of this trip who was there to help me out. 
Truly an answer to prayers. 

When we arrived at our next gate, a woman about my age approached me and said, “I’m going to help you.  I see you’re alone with two kids and I’m a mom and I know this can be hard.”
She was a lawyer, a mom of a 9 month old and wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

She helped me get the stroller and hand luggage gate checked, and got both kids situated in our seats.  I told her that we’d just flown from Europe and had a four hour layover.  She stared at me for a second and then asked someone to switch with her, giving up her exit row seat, so that she could sit in the same row as us.

We had not one bit of turbulence, no delays and no lost luggage.   In the two years we’ve been traveling back and forth, this is probably a first.  My mom and in-laws met us at the airport and as soon as we got to my mom’s house, we put Finley in the pack-n-play and the three of us slept the sleep of angels.

The next morning my sister came into town from Los Angeles.

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We took flowers to my dad’s grave.

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And cake pops.  Of course cake pops.

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We spent the rest of the week visiting with family and friends.
Hannah got to play with her cousins, go trick or treating and to the zoo.
The timing for all of this couldn’t have been better because she was off school for the half term break.

Anyway, we’re home now and unpacking.
It’s cold, raining and dreary today in Luxembourg and Shawn just built a fire in the fireplace.
He also made chocolate chip pancakes, bacon and omelets, per our usual Saturday morning breakfast ritual.

I’ll be back soon with posts on Hannah’s 6th birthday, Finley’s 7 month update and Halloween.  Until then, if anyone needs me I’ll be over here fighting with the jet lag.

1 comment:

  1. I am teary eyed over the kindness of strangers. God put every single one of those people in your path and the thought of that brings me goosebumps and feelings of such thankfulness for you. I'm glad your flight home went so well. You didn't mention the flight back, but I assume it was uneventful or we would have gotten the scoop.

    I am so sorry for the loss of your grandmother. This has been a rough few years for you. Prayers for you and your family my friend.

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