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Jessie Bee
I am a seeker of God, a help-meet to my husband and a mother to my 3 children. I love hot lattes, good books, cold weather and anything that inspires me to be creative. I desire simplicity and authenticity, but often have to remind myself to seek those .
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Aviation Adventures

Right now marks the 30-hour anniversary since we arrived back home from our first big family vacation. We risked adventure on the East Coast and, in the course of two weeks, stayed with a baker's dozen worth of my husband's family and visited with many of their offspring. Though I could easily dedicate many blogs to the adventures we had over there, I decided to focus on one of the most exciting aspects of the trip: the plane rides.

Perhaps plane rides don't come across as the edge-of-your-seat action adventure you'd anticipate a blog to focus on, but then again you probably don't have 3 children, ages 3, 4, and 5. That changes things. And since we were flying to the East Coast on a budget, our round trip plane rides included 4 flights (and one short stop in Tuscon) on the wings of love...

An important step for any child about to fly the friendly skies for the first time is to introduce themselves to the flight safety protocol. Our kids were way on top of that.

Somehow they must have interpreted the instructions to mean "be good or else..." because our children were fantastic on the two plane trips out to Virginia. Well, I say fantastic because the other children on the plane happened to drown out the noise of our own. Hallelujah.

The highlight of traveling via plane had nothing to do with the plane at all, but the "eligators" (read: elevators, aka moving sidewalks) found in the Chicago Midway airport. There is something magical about moving forward despite standing still. Our kids did a marvelous job of slowing down the general public by creeping onto the eligator, turning around and walking the wrong way. We call it "going against the flow" and we're proud of that ambition. Then there was the time my middle daughter managed to stop traffic altogether by standing backwards on the eligator, which denied her the advantage of seeing where it ended. I'll let your imagine take over from here.

While it would have been nice to write about a more interesting trip there, I'm grateful it was fairly boring. The trips back to San Diego held a little more adventure. Due to my son's incalculable assistance with nearly 150lbs of luggage, he was dubbed an honorary TSA Officer and presented with his own badge. Thanks TSA. Not only do you scan our bodies in HD, but now my son refuses to wash his sweatshirt. Who grants you such power?

However, that badge must have worked its charm because as soon as we walked up to the gates of our last two flights we were granted permission to board. Sure, we were semi-late getting to the gate, thus missing the family boarding time, but children to not fare well during long waits. Walking up late or being the parents of a Junior TSA, whichever comes first, negated this necessity.

It is at this point that I must pause and give a shout-out to Eileen, our friendly flight attendant from Southwest flight 417. Due to our lateness, we missed family boarding and nearly missed getting seats near each other. However, because of Eileen's intuitiveness and sing-songy loud voice, she verbally reserved family seating for us. Then she spent the rest of the flight catering to us, joking with the children, and asking repeatedly if we wanted snacks or more drinks. At the end of the flight, she asked us how much time we had before our next flight. When we said an hour, she suggested a sandwich shop that was out of this world. Considering we had spent the previous 2 hours 35,000 ft above earth and had another 5 hour flight to look forward to, I was grateful that "out of this world" was located next door to Gate B1. Once there, we said hi to our good friend Eileen, grabbed some extra-terrestrial sandwiches and rushed back to our flight.

Back at the gate, Junior TSA once again used his authority to eliminate wait time, and we found ourselves seated near the back of the plane, ready for our biggest flight yet - 5 hours and 45 minutes on the same plane (with one stop in Tuscon). The first 2 hours were amazing, fabulous, brilliant. When I woke up, things returned to moderately boring. That is, until Man-In-The-Lime-Green-Shirt walked down the aisle. Now we had always claimed the seats at the back of the plane. In all four flights, this was our ideal location. Explanation: we have 3 kids. In this location, my brain turned off the activity between the passengers passing by us. It was a semi-steady stream of visitors, and it would have been pointless to memorize each shirt color. However, Man-In-The-Lime-Green-Shirt was different. I first noticed him as I was exiting the lavatory and saw him making his way down the too-small airplane aisle. I took note of this strange man, this strange young man wearing a fluorescent-toned t-shirt. It didn't seem normal. But it was helpful. Because not 2 minutes after he passed by, I heard a ridiculously loud thud and the gasp from a flight attendant. I glanced behind me (remember, we're at the very back of the plane) and there on the floor was a lump of lime green. What happened next made me proud of the people I was sharing that lavatory with. Because as they called for any persons with medical experience, several people flooded to the back of the plane then deferred themselves to him or her who was the most qualified to help. No one was there for glory. There was genuine concern for this poor guy, which was a fresh breath of air (albeit stale airplane oxygen air).

The Man-In-The-Lime-Green-Shirt ended up being just fine. Too much to drink the night before paired with not enough to eat the next morning explained both the fainting and, I assume, the poor taste in fashion. And so when we landed in Arizona, the Man-In-The-Lime-Green-Shirt along with 100 other people left the plane while the rest of us stayed on and waited. Our Junior TSA got another surprise when Daddy walked him up to the front of the plane and Mr. Pilot showed him the horn. I'm sure Junior TSA saw more, but that was all I heard about. They arrived back as other passengers begin boarding. Lady-With-The-Curly-Red-Hair-And-Bright-Blue-Shirt sat down next to me. God put her there, I know it. As we were taking off, Junior TSA shouted, "WOOHOOOOO!!!!!!" He had done this during every take-off. Lady-With-The-Curly-Red-Hair smiled and said he must be a blast at Disneyland. I said sure, but could you imagine if he was the pilot? As the flight took off, she pulled out a book I was planning on reading and a conversation was struck. One topic led to the next and soon we were discussing her two grandchildren: 4 year old girl and 5 and a half year old boy. Not sure what led her to say it, but she mentioned that they were adopted from Russia. Really?? (For those not aware, my husband and I are in prayerful consideration about the timing and funds for international adoption.) This was such an encouraging conversation, but what touched me the most was when her eyes teared up as she recalled seeing their pictures for the first time. What a gift. And what a neat way to end a vacation.

Well, the other neat part about the end of the vacation was walking off the airplane into 77 degree weather. Thank you San Diego. It's good to be back.


The Professor's Wife said...

Really funny story!

You should read, "Adopted for Life" by Russel Moore - it is really good. He and his wife adopted two boys from Russia.

Jessie Bee said...

Hey Professor's Wife - thanks! Actually, we received that book for Christmas. I plan on reading it real soon!

sarah said...

Loved your blog. cant wait to read more!

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