Posts Tagged With: southwest airlines

Well Bless Your Heart

So there I was, Shanti with a full diaper and giving me the hunger cues. Like most airport bathrooms, the line was out the door with a stretch of women holding an impatient fake smile. I squeezed by everyone with hope in finding a spotless changing table with our names on it. Let me prep this with informing you that it would be my first changing-table experience. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s obvious when seasoned moms are on their hundredth changing-table routine, one hand here, sanitary wipe there, here a diaper, there a leg, all while balancing the edge of a broken hinge with a knee. I was up for the challenge until I rounded the corner and saw what I was working with. A dirty table with a woman already gagging her way through it with her little one. I could have stepped up and done the same but I’ll have to be honest with you, I wasn’t in the mood to battle it especially with a dozen women standing there watching. Chicken. So at this point, I have no choice but to join the herd in line and comfort Shanti to the best of my ability.

We finally got to the front and I see the size of the claustrophobic mini stalls in which I doubt we’d both fit in with her car seat in hand. I wave the others on as I patiently wait for the only large stall offered. Finally! It opens.

I got to the end and closed the door. I laid out my makeshift sanitation station on the ground and don’t have the guts to lay her there, so on my lap it is. I semi successfully get her clean and in a new diaper when she starts back in with the hunger signs, an excited whimper, not yet a cry and the side mouth reach. Trying to prevent her full on hungry holler, I get out my boob and she latches quickly as if she’d gone days without food. Typical.

Less than a minute into it, I hear a conversation outside the stall. A young woman says, “M’am are you waiting for this one?”, the answer comes from a fragile petite voice directly outside my stall that says, “No, I’m waiting for the large one. I can’t use the toilet without a handrail”. I hopelessly gaze at the handrail I was resting my knee on as Shanti gulps away.

“Are you waiting for my stall M’am?” I ask, selfishly hoping there was another one I wasn’t aware of. “Yes, yes I am”.

So with Shanti still devouring her lunch, I packed up my mess on the floor with one hand and proceeded to shove it under the door with one foot while attempting to cover her head with my free hand (just in case there’d be someone offended by my half breast). I open the door and hip bump it open and smile at the ancient woman waiting for us. She smiled back with the sincerity of someone who had been there, done that and truly appreciated my effort.

Then she said the one line that all southerners have said or heard at least one time in their life, “Well bless your heart”.

She went about her business and there I was, my back physically against the back wall with my diaper bag at my feet (half packed and spilling over), her car seat at my other side and her in my arms with no clue of the episode.

I looked up to find every single eye in the room locked in on the free entertainment I had been providing. I’d like to think I gave a confident stunning smile back at the crowd but in reality it must of been a squished eyebrow of wishing I could just disappear. I put my focus back down on Shanti and as I was wrapping up, a kind voice walks by me, leans in and says, “You’re doing a great job momma”. This small sentence gave me the encouragement I needed to gather my things, snap my shirt and waddle to the sinks with baby in arm, diaper bag over the shoulder and the car seat swaying from my lose grip.

Note to all humans: Take time to be kind, you never know how a few words can change an entire day for someone.

Fast forward to the end of the trip. 2 flights, no fits and a journey that’d I claim as a success for a solo parent and a 2 1/2 month old. I fed her on the final landing to help her ears pop and gave myself an imaginary pat on the back knowing she was never in discomfort nor did anyone on the flight know there was even a baby on board.

As I’m leaving the flight we got all kinds of kind comments on her cuteness, my bravery (as if millions of others had never done this) and “such a good baby”! As we walked through the terminal I continued to get smiles, except now they were a little awkward. I was so high on mom mode that I didn’t think into people’s expressions as my final goal was to collect our things and find daddy outside waiting for us. It wasn’t until I sat down to strap her into the car seat that I glanced below and realized what everyone had been smiling at while trying to avoid staring at. Call me genius over here, but I never zipped up the breastfeeding flap on my hoodie! Luckily I had a bra that matched, but hello… it’s still open and goods were hanging out.

To give you a visual, below is the exact sweatshirt I wore on the flight with the same zipper flap open. I’d like to think every mom has a photo like the one below! (Thanks to my mother for snapping this nap time pic).

You can imagine the exhaustion driven laughter I tried to hold back as I zipped up my shirt, tucked her in and moved along. What a day.

Here’s a quick video I shot right before we left the terminal. Our happy little (75 day old) girl after a thousand mile road trip and an entire day of flying. What a champ!

Categories: Baby Talk, Not-so-happy trails, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arkie to Okie….Crossing state lines

Leaving California usually provides mixed emotions. Saying goodbye to my hometown and childhood friends weighs heavy on the comfort seeking part of my spirit, yet knowing a new environment is in my near future brings a unique excitement that is irreplaceable. I’m not sure if it’s a hindering or useful quality of mine, but being in my “comfort zone” is generally short and sweet before I crave a different surrounding to stimulate my senses. I suppose there’s no need to label it “good” or “bad”… It just is.

To my memory, I haven’t posted these fun photos of the inside of the Sacramento airport. It’s so familiar to me that I forget my international friends have never experienced it. Check out the creative artwork at the baggage claim. I think it’s brilliant!

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Next stop is the land of fried okra, snappin turtles (nobody pronounces the “g” in “snapping”) and red dirt. Before we land, lets pause for a short story.

Southwest Airlines doesn’t assign seats, rather gives you a general boarding order that allows you to pick any open seat. This means, for travelers like me that don’t take concern in an early check in, get stuck loading a plane like a ten year old on a bus for the first day of school. All the cool kids with their window views, the runners up in the aisle chairs and the rest of us debating on the middle seat between the mom with toddlers or the business man who clearly uses the flight to recreate his work desk and take over the entire space with every tech gadget that they allow on board. My pick today was to squeeze front and center with an older man built like the traditional Santa Claus and a younger fit guy with legs the size of my waist.

Great news to me, Mr. Bulging-biceps was a friendly talker who was extremely intelligent and eager to trade stories. I could make this entire post about the conversation between the two of us, but instead I’ll just give you a photo with confidence that this gentleman crossed my path for a purpose. Thank you for the new workouts, encouraging words and a few well needed giggles.

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I landed in Arkansas to visit my cousin Lana for a week before heading to Oklahoma. Road trip! Her and the family loaded up as we set off for our 5 hour journey.

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*To my international friends: North Americans pay gas per gallon, not liter.

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I wonder what their fuel was before? Also, notice the sign to the right… Classic southern offer!

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This little pit stop has a flavored sugar disposing machine. Yes, you imagine correctly. It’s a huge colorful attraction in which you pick your choice of dyed sugar to weigh in and eat up. I rarely post strong negative opinions, but really folks… Can we at least pretend to care about the nutritional needs of our children?

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The famous Route 66 guides us in to the final stretch before finally arriving to the small town (by small town, I mean a street the has some houses surrounding the gas station-grocery store-post office that sits across the hwy from the only school k-12th. All shown in detail here).

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Agra, Oklahoma will be home while I visit my family including but not limited too: The precious Grams, 2 hilarious Aunts, 2 adorable Great Aunts, my Dad and his wife, 5 siblings, and 23 cousins still counting…

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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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