I was foolish to think this story wouldn’t get out. My children spilled the beans the minute they saw their grandparents. My son told the neighbor moments after we pulled in the driveway. So, here goes….
I planned a wonderful vacation for my children. We were traveling to sunny Florida for spring break. I would take a second mortgage out on my house to get tickets to a theme park, swim in the pool and spend a day at the beach. I knew, traveling with three children, it wouldn’t be perfect. This wasn’t my first rodeo. They would bicker and whine on occasion, but we would still have fun and make memories.
My children were giddy the morning of our flight. On route to the airport, they were talking about what they wanted to do first. Everyone was all smiles. I was earning another #1 Mom mug. My husband, who had work commitments, dropped us off at the airport. He offered to park and escort us into the terminal, but I squashed that. I’m not paying for parking when I have an able bodied 16-year-old who could help carry bags. It’s the least he could do for me since I brought him into this world without an epidural.
We walked up to the counter to check our bags and print our boarding passes. I gave the attendant our name. She looked puzzled. I repeated our name. She was frantically typing. “I don’t see your reservation,” she said. “What?” My heart was racing. “I have the reservation right here.” I opened the confirmation email on my phone and that is when I saw it. I was at the wrong airport! My 8-year-old son got emotional. “We can’t go to Florida?”
I live 30 minutes from the airport in Buffalo and an equal amount of time from the airport in Rochester. So, we use both depending on which has cheaper tickets for our travel dates. It is often the airport in Buffalo. So, I simply forgot I purchased tickets in December to fly out of Rochester in March. It was 2:45 p.m. We needed to board the plane at 3:30 p.m. for a flight scheduled to depart that at 4:05 p.m. from a tarmac over an hour away. Do the math. I was screwed. I tried calling my husband to come back. His phone was dead. My son had unplugged his phone to charge his iPad. There were no flights available for several days from Buffalo or Rochester. My tickets to the theme park were non-refundable. My only shot was to rent a car and pray. What was supposed to be a relaxing trip turned into a Macaulay Culkin movie. My children were dragging bags as I ordered them to run through the airport to the car rental counter. “Let’s go! Hurry up!” I loaded the kids and six bags into a Nissan sedan and hit the gas. I drove faster than I would ever admit. Let’s just say, if I had been pulled over and issued a ticket, it would have been costly. I am not proud of that. In fact, I am embarrassed.
The angels were watching over us. Our flight was delayed 15 minutes. My parents met us at the airport to return the rental car. We made it to the gate in time to board the plane. I wanted to make memories. We made memories alright.