This past winter break I had the good fortune to travel to Acapulco, Mexico with my two kids. My husband was home "minding the store" and little did I know that we were about to embark on a very adventurous day.
Traveling to Mexico from Chicago in the middle of December is considered an adventure by default. My parents have a house in Acapulco and I have been traveling there since I was a kid and I have to say the last 20 years I haven't had so much as a delayed flight.
I was about to make up for lost time. Our flight from Chicago was delayed into Mexico City where we were to catch our plane to paradise. Not so fast said the Airline Gods. My kids--total troopers, ran to be the first in line to clear customs and miraculously our luggage was cruising off the baggage carousel.
Lugging their duffels through the maze of the Mexico City Airport we managed to find the train to the other terminal. Quickly trying to check in at one of those auto kiosks--it spits something out at me in Spanish and my 13 year old daughter needs to translate for me. It appears we are too late to check in automatically and we have to see the "Agent". Apparently she was a "secret" agent and I didn't have the password. We have 40 minutes until the flight leaves and she tells me in broken English "Flight is closed".
What do you mean Flight is closed???? In the U.S. 40 minutes to catch a flight is a lifetime. Apparently they do things differently in Mexico. I ask to speak to El Heffe (the big boss). I bat my eyelashes and beg him to let me on the flight--It sucks to get old. The eyelash trick no longer works and he won't let us on the plane despite my begging and pleading and tells me "All flights to Acapulco today are full".
The kids and I are hang our heads and go back to American Airlines and ask them to book us on the next flight to Acapulco. The woman behind the counter very nicely says, "We can get you on a flight at 10:25 tomorrow evening? WHAT????? I thought no one wanted to go to Acapulco anymore???? I tell her I am traveling alone with my children--is there anything she can do? She tells me she can give me a a hotel voucher for the night and she is not even supposed to do that.
Now, I have two choices.
1. I can have a nervous breakdown in the middle of the airport in front of the watchful eyes of my children.
2. I can put a smile on my face and say "Kids--we are on an adventure!" I chose this option. Even when my 10 year old son got all teary and screamed--"Mom we are going to DIE IN THIS AIRPORT"
I said to him very matter of factly--"This is how you make memories"
I turned on my cellphone (at $1million dollars a minute) and phoned up the King of getting me out of sticky situations--My dad. He was on it!!!! My husband--not so happy.
Before I knew it--like 2 hours later, we were in a big black Suburban with Oscar and his lovely wife who drove like 120 miles an hour to get us to paradise. My husband texting me every 10 minutes hoping the banditos hadn't stopped us and confused us for the drug lords they were looking for and my parents calling me every 20 minutes to "just check in".
4 hours later we had finally arrived in paradise. My mom hugging me so tight I couldn't breathe and says to me "How were you so calm???" I answered her (again with my kids watching) "There is always a solution to the problem--I knew we would get here eventually!"
Parenting lesson! Your kids may not listen to you but they are ALWAYS watching you. Choose to show your kids how to be resourceful and calm and find the good in a sticky situation. How will they learn what to do when something goes wrong if everything always goes right.