Forget Alexander. He has NOTHING on Levi, Ezra and me. A couple months back we had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And boy was it a doozy.
I recapped it in my notes to later write out in a blog so that when I think I'm having a bad day in the future, I can refer back to this. Maybe you can, too. Or maybe you can just read it and laugh at me. Either/Or.
To set the scene for you, it's 10am in muggy Oklahoma and the boys and I were at the airport awaiting our flight back to Erie, PA. Darin was in California and was making his own flights home that day, but the boys and I were on our own, and not feeling too hot. A few days before our flight back home, the boys had a stomach bug, strawberry tongue (first time for that!), and strep. Luckily, they were feeling well the morning we were set to leave, even though I woke up at 3am with stomach issues every 45 minutes after that. Low on sleep and not feeling so great, I was bound and determined not to miss that flight back home.
So, Dad got me some medicine and to the airport we went. We were set to be home by 4pm. Perfect.
Forty-five minutes after arriving, scooting through security and grabbing a couple smoothies, the boys and I made our way to our gate just as they announced that Chicago airport was shut down - no flights in or out. Guess where our connection was? You guess it - Chicago.
Discouraged, we waited and prayed that things would get figured out soon and we wouldn't miss our connection to Erie. About an hour later, things were fixed and we boarded our flight. Back row. Not a great place to be when you know you're going to be sprinting to catch your connection.
The flight didn't go so well. Levi fills up 2 vomit bags and Ezra's looking queasy. My stomach hurts.
The plane finally lands.
One minute before our connection is set to depart.
And Levi's at it again. Vomiting, that is.
We wait forever for everyone to get off of the plane (what TAKES people so long?!) and the kind people in the row in front of me heard my dilemma and let us get off before them. When we set foot in the airport we literally start sprinting. I have a giant bag, each boys hand, and I tell them to RUN.
Our gate is forever away. Naturally.
Ezra starts WAILING. I tell him to run. I can't pick him up and run at this point because I'm carrying a 10 lb. bag and juggling other things. I grab his hand and sprint. He screams. Every single person we pass as we fly by looks in horror as if I'm kidnapping this child. I've never in my life heard him scream like this. I've also never had as many eyes on me as I did then. I ignore it, grab him tighter and keep running.
Levi falls on the escalator and his leg is bleeding. I'm about to vomit and my heart reached rates it's never seen. Ezra is squealing.
At this point Levi starts panicking. Being ever the encourager that he is, he's screaming through his tears as his little legs carry him as fast as he can, "YOU'RE THE BEST MOMMY IN THE WORLD!!!!" Bless. His. Heart. He keeps saying this over and over, trying to make ME feel better as he knows I'm in panic-stress-mode. We keep sprinting, Ezra keeps wailing, Levi keeps encouraging.
We finally arrive at the gate and I'm about to have a heart attack. I spot our plane outside, but the gate door is shut and there is not an employee to be found. I screamed at the patrons sitting near my gate, "WHERE IS AN EMPLOYEE?? WHO IS WORKING AT THIS DESK?? WHERE IS SOMEONE???" Everyone stares at me like I'm a lunatic and one person shrugs his shoulders. Thanks, guys. At this point all I needed was for someone to open that forsaken gate door so that we could run down the hall and hop on the plane. That's all it took. For CRYING out LOUD someone OPEN THE DOOR!!!!!!
Just then a lady opens the door from the other side and calmly walks to the desk. That irritated me. "I'm here! Can I get on? That's my flight!"
"Are you the G----s?"
"I called for you, but you didn't come. Sorry."
"BECAUSE YOUR AIRPORT WAS CLOSED AND MY PLANE JUST LANDED 3 MINUTES AGO!"
I pleaded to her to let me through those doors and on the plane and she very rudely told me no. I was too late. "BUT THE PLANE! IT'S RIGHT THERE AND THE PLANE DOOR IS STILL OPEN!" No. Too late. I wanted to rip that door open myself and fight my way inside that plane!
I was redirected to customer service to find a new flight as I stood at the window watching my plane slowly back out.
I stood there choking back tears.
Two little voices behind me quietly ask, "is this bad?" "Yeah, Mommy. Is this bad?"
Just then young man who witnessed our run/scream fiasco came up behind me, clearly out of breath himself, and said he was going to Erie too. He walked with me over to customer service and made sure I went ahead of him and was just so sweet in trying to help this discouraged, over stressed mommy with two upset children get things figured out. What a blessing he was!
Customer service line was 20 people deep. At this point my stomach was killing me and I felt lightheaded. I've never passed out before, but there's a first time for everything. I threw my bag down on the floor and sat on it with my head down. Levi kept telling me I was the best mommy ever and Ezra got super quiet. And pale. An hour later, we had a new flight. Set for SEVEN hours later.
Ezra gets diarrhea.
We run to the family bathroom, get him changed and cleaned up, and head to the airport Chili's for something to eat. More to pass the time than eat because we all feel so crummy. The boys sat quietly and I am basically laying in the booth. I choke down a few crackers, 2 bites of soup, and I'm done.
Ezra throws up all over the table.
I cleaned it up, paid, and left to go find a place to sit down.
Ezra gets diarrhea. Bless the child's heart, he is sick as a dog.
We head back to the family bathroom to change him and I'm feeling sick. There's a chair in there that pulls down from the wall and I take off my jacket and just sit there for a good 10 minutes with my head between my legs. Then I get sick, and Levi starts scream praying. "DEAR JESUS HELP MY MOMMY STOP THROWING UP! PLEASE HELP HER FEEL BETTER! PLEASE JESUS PLEASE!" He's never seen me sick before and didn't like it a bit. We take our time to regroup, grab a $4 bottle of water, and go sit down.
Ezra gets diarrhea.
Off to the family bathroom - our new home away from home - and I realize my baby wipes are gone. I had left them in there by accident during our last episode and someone stole them. Heaven help us all.
Praise the LORD Ezra was still wearing pull-ups back then for travel, or else I don't know what we would have done. It was LITERAL WATER pouring out of his little body, that poor baby.
We go find another seat.
As SOON as we sit down each and every time, one of us gets sick and we have to get up and run to the bathroom. The restrooms were down a long hallway, without any kind of seats near them, so it was a trek to even get there. At one point we just parked it in that hall because it was inevitable we were going back to that bathroom. But for now, we were in regular seats away from the restroom.
Ezra says he needs to throw up so I take off running holding him out in my arms. He throws up directly in front of the trashcan. I was mere millimeters late.
Obviously we aren't going to sit there anymore since everyone was looking upon us in horror and disgust, so we took off to find a new campsite.
But not without another stop at the family bathroom.
And, leave it to me....when I opened the door to the FAMILY BATHROOM I discovered something so unspeakable, I won't even write about it. Just trust me when I say I lost all faith in humanity that day. Which led me straight to the toilet, throwing up my guts both in horror and sheer sickness.
Lord, come quickly.
We finally find a spot that we are able to sit at for longer than 5 minutes without any runs to a trashcan or a bathroom. We are sitting across from a couple who witnessed our escapades earlier in the day, so they knew what we were all about. Ezra starts coughing and they both look up at me like a deer in headlights. A few seconds and whispers later, they moved. Thanks for the help, kind souls. Thanks a lot.
Ten minutes later, Ezra vomits in the trashcan.
We stop at a store for $10 dramamine. It's the only thing I can think of that MIGHT help with nausea for myself at least and I was desperate. It was all I could do to take care of my sick babies when I was so sick myself! I was kicking myself for packing our Phenergan in the suitcase and not in my carry on, but it was gel and I was afraid it'd get thrown away through TSA. Hindsight is 20/20, yada yada yada.
At this point we had an hour and a half left until our plane left and I didn't know how I had survived it. The three of us literally felt SO BAD that all I wanted to do was curl up in the fetal position and cry. Just cry. cry. cry. But I had to get through it. We were almost home. Be tough, Whitney! You've made it this far, you can do it!
Why must everyone in this forsaken airport eat McDonald's? WHY? Nothing ever looked or smelled as repulsive as a Big Mac that day and it seemed like everyone there had one. Another whiff of Mickey D's and off to the bathroom we went. For what would finally be the last time.
That last hour in the airport was the best hour yet. No incidents and we didn't even have a single run to the bathroom. We even had some fruit juice and a couple of crackers and kept them down. All 3 of us! When our flight boarded, we cheered.
We were on a teeny tiny plane - two seats on one side and on on the other, and at the very front. I sat the boys together and I was across from them. Levi starts coughing and I leaned across the aisle holding the throw-up bag over his mouth and I heard a dozen gasps behind us. (So there ARE perks to being in the back of the plane!) Our sweet stewardess brought me a giant trash bag for the duration of the flight and took pity on us, bringing the boys little wing pins.
They fell asleep 10 minutes later.
When we arrived in Erie, it was well past midnight and I could barely walk. Ezra was asleep so I was carrying him and as soon as we hit baggage claim, he threw up everywhere. I don't even know how he had anything left in him. Bless the kind lady who came up and offered me her pack of wipes. Where was she 5 hours earlier? :) She was the only person of the entire day (aside from the Erie guy who also missed his flight) who offered us help and encouragement.
(PSA: If you see a Mommy in distress, please offer some sort of help. Anything is a blessing - even a pat on the shoulder and a word of encouragement! You can't imagine how much that helps! I think I would have been in much better shape that day had someone offered a kind word instead of stares.)
We trudged through the parking lot, threw our bags in the car, made the 5 minute drive home and prepared to crash.
But I wasn't done yet.
Levi's birthday was in the morning so I still had to decorate for his big day after they went to sleep. It was 1am as I slung up Ninja Turtle banners, set up his table, icing-ed ninja faces on cookies, and positioned all his presents. Though zapped in every way, I couldn't help but smile as I imagined him waking up to it the next morning. My sweet Levi deserved the very best birthday. Darin arrived home as I was finishing up at 2 am. I kissed him hello and we crawled into bed.
And I cried. And cried. And cried.
Crying never felt so good. I couldn't stop. I had been strong all day and it all came crashing down when I knew I was safe and had survived it.
Exhaustion has never filled my body like it had that day, and I just crashed physically and emotionally. Darin kissed my head and stoked my hair until I feel asleep, and HOME had never felt more like a refuge as it did that night.
Even though this a day I wanted to forget, I know I never will.
I think I'll move to Australia.
Wait. No. Because we'd have to fly and I am DONE with airports!