We left Bakersfield at 8am, not a minute behind schedule! I was so proud of myself for getting out of the door on time. We grabbed some breakfast on the road and rolled up to the Southwest ticketing counter with plenty of time to get through security and get to our gate. Everything was going so smoothly. When we got to the gate we saw the unfortunate, but not too disheartening, news that our flight was delayed. There was a long line of people trying to get info and I waited in the line for a while, but then gave up knowing they probably weren't telling people much, and what could they really do for me. I decided to sit and wait for them to announce something over the speaker.
(just to clarify--there are empty seats around me in these pictures because I took them very early in the "waiting game" when I left the busy area to go nurse Lydia. The area where I waited for my flight was total mayhem. Okay, maybe not mayhem... but it was pretty busy!)
Still the screen by our gate read Denver>Delayed. The screen next to it, for our same gate, read Tuscon>2:15.
As 1:50 neared I got a little concerned. How on earth would they get our plane out at 1:50 and the Tuscon flight out at 2:15? AND the screen still offered no info for the Denver flight nor had they made an announcement. Very strange.
People began lining up around 2:00, but I still had not hear an announcement about Denver and the screen still read Denver>Delayed, Tuscon>2:15. I sat crowded in between all of the other waiting passengers as the fortunate Tuscon passengers loaded and left. I waited in anticipation for news on the Denver flight. Finally, a man walked up to the screen and started messing with the Denver information. Yay!! I watched excitedly and then suddenly the screen went blank and he walked away. He had just DELETED Denver! I hustled to the counter. . .
"Excuse me, I've been waiting for the Denver flight and you just deleted it."
The man looked at me confused.
"Umm.. that flight just closed."
"The Denver flight just left at 2:15."
I couldn't help it, my mouth dropped open and I felt my eyes burning with frustrated tears. While the 'wait' may seem short and easy in this blog post, I left out quite a bit of "time" spent entertaining Lydia and trying not to go stir crazy.
"But.. the screen behind you says the 2:15 flight was for Tuscon."
He looks behind him. "Oh. Well. . . that was the Denver flight."
He did genuinely look sad for me, but what was I supposed to do!? He said to run down to this other gate and get on the list for standby.
With tears in my eyes, (yes, I am a frustrated cry-er), I made a mad dash through the Los Angeles International Airport, wheeling my sporty stroller with babe in tow, dodging people and their luggage while simultaneously calling my friend Amanda to lament. I felt like a total idiot. How on earth did I miss this? How did I make such a dumb error? And where was the, "Sara Waldron this is your last call for boarding" kind of announcement?
When I got to the counter at the other gate I told Amanda I'd call her back.
They put me on the stand-by list...
... for a full flight.
... with 4 other people ahead of me on the list.
I could comprehend reality. I was not getting on this flight.
This gate was also VERY crowded. So I tucked myself in the only available corner of wall space by the bathroom and just stood there crying. I don't really know what was so wrong with me. I was overwhelmed, tired...
oh yes, let's talk about why I was tired for a moment:
We spent the night at Lee's sister's house the night before so that we would have a shorter drive the morning of. We slept on her super crappy mattress in Alyson's room (sorry Tiff, but Danny agrees-haha), it is the noisiest mattress I have ever slept on. But really, it wasn't even all that bad this time, because I was so tired. Oh but Lydia had no interest in sleeping, that or whenever our mattress would creek (bc I roll over a lot when sleeping) it would wake her. So every 45 minutes to an hour she would wake, I would console her. I think I probably tried nursing her half awake several times just to try and get her to sleep. I couldn't even remember in the morning because I had been so tired. But when she WAS actually sleeping all of the sudden something is beeping in the room. I woke up confused and thought maybe it was my alarm going off on my phone (even though my alarm sounds nothing like that). I ask Lee and he says he thinks it is a stop watch and it will go off soon. sigh. wonderful. It does go off... eventually. Then at another point during sleep, somewhere aroung 4:30am I think, the stereo comes on playing music. What!? Once again I awake thinking it must be that my alarm has miraculously switched to playing music. I ask Lee. He says it is the stereo. I say, "Well, are we going to turn it off." I was holding Lydia so couldn't do anything about it. He grunts and gets up to turn it off. After Lydia waking up at 5:30 and then 6, I laid in bed reading someone's blog and then just got up at 6:30. So.... it helped in getting me out the door in time, but did not help to prevent feeling exhausted.
Where were we? Oh yes, crying in the corner by the bathroom, totally exhausted, totally humiliated.
A sweet older woman came and placed her hand on my shoulder, "Are you okay miss?"
"Oh yes, I am. I just missed my flight and I want to get where I am going and I am tired of being in the airport."
It was now 3pm. This flight would be leaving at 3:50. I got to the airport that morning at 10:15am. Five hours at the airport isn't that long, I guess, but it felt plenty long enough.
I fed Lydia a jar of baby food, nursed her, and filled in all of the necessary individuals about my status. My sister Jennifer made a very valid point to me that maybe I wasn't supposed to be on that flight. She reminded me that sometimes we don't know what God spares us from by delaying us in life with inconveniences.
For example: hitting every red light when you're late, or having to run back inside because you forgot something. I believe that sometimes God uses these things to help us to avoid other greater tragedies. Of course, these aren't things we can know, but I still believe He does it.
OR, maybe someone on the standby list for my intended flight REALLY needed to be on that plane and they wouldn't have had I claimed my seat. Maybe they were trying to get to the hospital bedside of a loved one or make it in time for a special event. Who knows? It is possible.
So I took a deep breath and tried to set my humiliation and disappointment aside.
Meanwhile everyone was praying for a miracle to get me on this plane.
I was hopeful... and yet, I also refused to hope. If I did not get on this flight I would be on the 5:50 flight.
As all of the ticketed passengers boarded I said yet another small prayer:
"Lord, I trust you that I was not supposed to be on that flight and I thank you. I know it is really unlikely that I will get on this flight and that is okay. I can wait until the next flight. But, Lord, if you want to work a tiny miracle in this small, unimportant area of my life by getting me on this flight, I would be so extremely grateful."
The woman at the counter began calling stand-by names. I couldn't believe it.
Still, she would have to get through four.
Then, all of the sudden, she said my name!
I went up to the counter and asked, "For this flight?"
When she said yes and handed me a ticket, boy was I a sight! I said to her "Oh thank you Jesus! It's a miracle!"
I set Lydia on the ground, started grabbing my things off of the stroller and folded it up. It wasn't my most graceful moments, but I was getting on that flight! I fumbled down the on ramp while Lydia, being a good sport, smiled through it all even though I was barely holding on to her with one arm as she slid down my side.
When I was walking to baggage claim in Denver, I heard over the load speaker "Jane Doe, if you do not report to the counter your seat will be given to someone on standby. Jane Doe, this is your last boarding call."
I just laughed. I won't ever be able to explain how it happened. I have no idea how I missed a flight that I was sitting at the gate for. But it doesn't matter. I got to Denver and I got there exactly how I was supposed to.