I'm so glad y'all came back to hear some more of my story.
When I reached the airport, I didn't know where to park, so I had to stop and ask someone and then start all over on my journey around the airport.
When we were finally inside the parking garage, it took at least ten minutes to find a parking spot and maybe five more to get into the spot.
After the long walk to the terminal, I reached the desk and looked around like a lost puppy dog. But thank goodness, there was no line at our flight counter.
Did that matter?
The lady asked me where we were headed.
I told her.
"You're too late to make that flight." She said in that short sort of way that cut off all small talk.
I started trembling immediately. "No, I'm not."
"Yes, you are. You're eight minutes late."
"Have you got your bags checked in?" Her voice sounded fine, there was no sliver of condensation, but her eyes flicking from me to Zach were knowing.
"No, that's why I'm here?" I keep that I'm-too-dignified-to-beg tone out of my voice. But only barely.
She didn't hesitate. She didn't smile. "You'll have to rebook."
"No. I can make it. I can." The begging mode slowly creeps through.
"Do you have your boarding passes?"
"No. Please. I can make it."
"Let me get my supervisor."
She walks away and all I can do is retrace my steps over and over. Why did I stop? Why didn't I come straight here? What have I done? I felt like I had stepped up to the start of a race, and the outcome was already set in stone. I was going to lose.
And ya'll, I'm shaking so hard, I can't see straight.
Zach grabs my arm. "Mama, stop it. You can't do anything about it."
"I have to."
I hear the ladies talking and I the supervisor says, 'You have to be here thirty minutes ahead of time'.
My clerk comes back. There's nothing more I can do. I feel like I'm going to throw up. I need to quit pushing myself to the limit. It's not worth it.
"You have to rebook." I have to try one more time. "Please. I can make it." I point toward the area I think I have to go. "I know I can make it."
"No. Now, it's been ten minutes." She checks something on her computer. "They've already dropped your seats."
Deep down, I don't believe her. Why is this happening? I am not in control of anything. And I have destroyed everything over one bad decision.
"I can get you seats on a 6:30 flight and you'll arrive in Tampa at 10:45. Or I can get you a flight tomorrow." The frustration had drained out of her voice, and she just sounds very, very tired.
Zach finally speaks up. "No, I have to be there tomorrow."
My chest is pounding. I'm supposed to be at my friend's house at 3:00. How can I show up at her house at midnight? What kind of friend am I? What kind of mother am I? My husband is going to kill me. What kind of wife am I? I'm about to have a break down.
"Wait. I found something earlier." She's still typing on her keyboard. "I can get you on a flight at 3:45."
That's better. And I take a deep breath.
"It'll be $58 more per person?"
"Only $58 per person? That's it? That's all I have to pay?"
"Yes. That includes all the fees."
I exhale. "Okay." It's like hundreds of pounds are lifted from my shoulders. Not that I'm happy about paying $116 more, but I'm happy that's all I have to pay. Especially when I hear the people next to me will have to pay over a thousand. We would've turned around and drove home. Very disappointed. And I probably would've had to drag Zach. Is that even possible?
"So we need to be back here at ... Or should I go ahead and check in?"
The clerk didn't crack a smile. "I'm checking you in right now."
And even in this mess, with my stomach tangled in knots, I'm able to laugh.
Then, God blesses me in this moment even more than that.
"Wait. I found something sooner. I can get you two on a flight leaving at 12:20."