Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Timing is everything

Things are busy. I am not a morning person.

These are two facts of my life. 

Last Sunday, I had to catch a 6 a.m. flight to North Carolina. 

In my head, that meant I needed to be at the airport by 5, so I should leave the house by 4, and be up by 3. In my world, that's a little thing I like to call reverse timing. 

What I often forget is that I assume everything will go perfectly, I will resist getting distracted, and there will be flowers, rainbows, and dancing unicorns ushering me from point A to point B. 

Case in point: I got up a little before 3, showered, dressed, finished packing my bag, kissed Robert goodbye, peeked in on the kids and kissed them too, went downstairs and decided I had time to check my email. 

But of course my laptop froze up. By the time I gave up, it was already a little after 4 so I packed up the laptop and went and put my bag in the car. I raised the garage door and....SNOW.  A few inches worth. And it was now 4:10. I got in the car and crept out of the development. The main roads were a little better, but I went slower than I had planned and the likelihood of making time up on the road wasn't looking good.

And then my gas light came on.I had been hoping to make it into Missouri before needing gas since it's about 20 cents cheaper there.

Insert detour to a poorly plowed gas station. 

The highway in Illinois was pretty clear. But as soon as I crossed into Missouri, the roads kept getting worse.  Apparently they got more ice than snow. By the time I got to the airport, it was after 5 a.m. I parked in long term parking and waited for the shuttle.

According to the sign in the shelter, there would be a shuttle every 10 minutes. 

I must have just missed it. And I think the weather made it more like 20 minutes.

When the shuttle finally came, he was nice enough to wait for anyone and everyone in the parking area, even if they had turned in behind him. 

While this was really nice of him, especially considering the weather, I was starting to get anxious. Like, REALLY anxious.

Then again, it was no one's fault but my own. 

By the time I got to the terminal, I had about 20 minutes before my flight left. I went to the kiosk which wouldn't print my boarding passes because I was checking in too late. I went to the counter and the Delta employee there printed my passes and encouraged me to run.

So, I ran to security, which luckily took me right through. Then I ran to the gate, which was at the end of the terminal. I barely made it. I was also sucking wind big time.

I sat down in my seat, they closed the door to the plane, we backed up and.......waited for over 30 minutes for the plane to be de-iced. Ah well, what are you gonna do?

That made us late arriving in Atlanta so after a quick speed walk (thankfully no running) to my second departing gate, I walked right onto the plane to find that I had the whole row to myself. This flight did not have to be de-iced, so we left with no issues and even got to NC early. I walked out of the airport to find that the rental car shuttle was right there, so I hopped right on.

It really was a series of small miracles that I got from point A to point B that day and what did I learn?

1) Check for snow. Even when the forecast doesn't call for it.
2) I need to add 30 minutes of extra time...just in case...for any further airport trips. An hour if it involves the kids.
3) I stink at estimating the amount of time it takes me to do something or get somewhere.
4) I am not a morning person no matter what.
5) I am not in control of nearly as many things as I sometimes I think I am....or should be.
6) There is no point in my playing the lottery - ever - because I just used up a decades' worth of luck on this one trip. 

How well do you really know anyone?

My grandmother passed away February 2. She was 93. She had Alzheimers. If you had seen her periodically over the last eight years, you could see that it was coming.

When Mom called to tell me, my heart broke at the heartbreak in her voice. But Robert and I haven't lived in North Carolina in almost a decade. And in the physical distance, for me there was emotional distance too.

Before last week, if you'd asked me to use one word to describe my grandmother, I would have said complicated. She and I weren't super close, but we were family and we loved each other. I hope that she is in a better place now, finally happy and at peace.

I flew to NC Sunday morning. The viewing and the service was Monday. I flew home Tuesday. She was actually buried on Thursday.

At the service, I was sitting beside my brother and as the Hospice chaplain was speaking about my grandmother, I found myself trying to keep my face blank because I realized the woman he was describing was one I did not know.

This, of course, made me think. You grow up around family (extended family if you are lucky) and just take for granted these presences in your life, but how well do you really know someone? As the kids get older, I find myself realizing that I may have given birth to them and pretty much been with them since birth, but that's no guarantee that I really know them. Nor do they really know me. I'm not sure how to feel about that.

Women of my grandmother's generation rarely shared deeply personal things. The kids' generation seems to share every. little. thing. - often on social media. I never stopped to wonder how odd or unusual that must have seemed to her because it seemed so normal to me. Just like I never thought about her as a person, not really, she was my grandmother and that's the only way I really ever saw her.

I don't know what she wanted from her life when she was a little girl. I don't know what her happiest moment was. I don't know so many things about her. I don't know because I never asked. She wasn't easily approachable most of the time, and it never occurred to me to try and figure out why or to break through her barriers.

So as the chaplain talked about my grandmother, I listened...really listened to the way he saw her, my mother  saw her, and my aunt saw her. And I promised that I would try to let my kids really know me and realize that  at some point, I'm going to have to stop seeing them as 'my kids' and seeing them for the people they are and are going to be. And something tells me I'll never be regretful about that.