“He’s pulling my shirt!” the 4-yr-old cried, while I pried his 22-mos-old brother from his shirt on the airplane. We were snuggled – three people into two seats so the “baby” could ride for free- “on my lap.” It seemed like such a good idea, when we qualified for an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii. All expenses were paid for Chris and me, so frequent flyer miles paid for one son and the other was left as a “lap child”.
The ten-hour-flight from Detroit to Honolulu was better than other connections, and we could take just one more skip over the pond to the island of Kona. The palm trees, the mango juice, the pineapple boat ice cream sundae, the mama whales and baby whales, the 70-degree-nights and 80-degree-days were there for us! And coffee. Yes, Kona coffee! Anyone could have predicted it would be challenging to take a long flight with two young boys, but what flight struggle could compare to the islands that awaited our arrival?
I had prepared: Color Wonders would keep the ink off of the airplane tray. (Airlines must be thankful for Crayola’s invention!) Pre-electronic reader days, I brought books to read aloud, balancing the weight of my carry-on bag with the entertainment provided. A puzzle car-track would fit just right on the airplane tray, and I could imagine whiling away at least a couple of hours as we watched the wind-up car go in circles of our designed track, and then we would redesign the puzzle pieces to make a new track over and over. Hours of happily entertained children translated to a nap or book for me. Cheerios, raisins, granola bars and canned chicken (for my son with food allergies), would provide the snack time, as well as string out the eating to take longer – and hence more of the 10-hour flight would certainly vanish.
I had bought a new running suit for the trip. It was the kind that was too cute to ever bear sweat, but perfectly comfortable for a long ride. It was like public-approved pajamas. Matching, unstained clothes for the boys would make cute photos as Hawaiians adorned us with leis upon arrival. I couldn’t wait!
Now, as I sat on the plane, I couldn’t believe how the infamous Murphy and his laws had decided to join us for this trip!
– The plane was delayed 5 hours in the terminal, using up most of my entertainment stash.
– We boarded and sat for an additional 2 hours before taking off for our 10-hour flight; I really don’t remember why, because I was trying to be super mom.
– We never found food without allergens in the airport, so my son had eaten all of the canned chicken before the airplane meal arrived.
– The Cheerios spilled all over the floor of the airplane within 30 minutes (before takeoff!); I kept daydreaming of how to design a Dustbuster for a diaper bag.
– The wind-up car for the track got over-wound within its first run, and was never able to be used (despite that I had to carry the track puzzle pieces to Hawaii and back).
– We accidentally left the spill-proof sippy cups in the airport. (Of course, they are never really spill-proof. Anyway, I always needed them to be “losing-proof.” Maybe I needed to attach sippy cups to their hands like the mittens that are strung through their coats.)
– Without a sippy cup, the 22-month-old spilled the juice the flight attendant gave him in a Styrofoam cup…all over my new “jogging” suit.
– After the food ran out, the allergy-boy lived on potato chips and juice, but no worries, there were only 7 hours left in the flight; certainly he would sleep for some of those after such an exciting day!
– The diapers ran out in the 8th hour, and the flight attendant graciously provided me with some – 4 sizes too small.
– What comes after lack of sleep, topped with a diet of potato chips and juice? Diarrhea. When an almost- 2-yr-old wore a diaper for a 6-mos-old, it meant my new jogging suit had a new stench, besides the original apple juice.
– Now the brothers were exhausted to the point that shirt-pulling was a tear-jerking, judge-summoning offense.
We were exhausted when the words finally came across the loudspeaker, “Ladies and gentlemen, please prepare for arrival.”
As I started to reach down to gather our things, I realized NOW, both boys were asleep…for the last 20 minutes of the 17 hour trip. Ugh.
We landed, and as we disembarked, the beautiful Hawaiian girls in hula-skirts put flower leis around each of our necks – as if something between my clothing and my nose could disguise the odor.
But Murphy had not left us yet.
We joined the line of weary travelers waiting to see about connections. As we approached the desk, the airline employee’s face lit up and she explained that we had missed our 9pm connection, but that there was one that was delayed and probably still “over there,” [in the other terminal] but we would have to run.
We bolted as fast as possible. Carrying bags of broken toys and lugging drained children who sniffled in exhaustion, Chris and I ran through the doors, to the other terminal, to the exact gate where the flight was. Or was not.
Not only was the flight gone, but so were the people. The terminal had exactly four people in it – us. The lights were dimmed as if we had somehow snuck into a closed terminal. Disgusted, we turned to walk, or stomp back to the original long line of weary people. When we got to the original terminal, we discovered it was now locked. Since no more planes were leaving, I guess they decided to lock the entrance, and we were outside. We waited several minutes until someone inside noticed and let us back in – to go back to the gate and stand at the END of the line of weary travelers, so we could book a hotel and flights for the following day.
I tried to forget that my parents from Colorado would already be in Kona waiting for us, since we had invited them to multiply the fun. I tried to forget all of our friends who had also qualified for the trip, and were probably already in their soft beds with the Hawaiian breeze gently blowing across their bellies full of mango juice. I tried not to calculate that this would mean our trip was 1/6 shorter, because of these delays.
I was beginning to stew. I had held it in ALL day. I had tried to be positive for the kids, forgiving to the airline- they knew not what they did. But, THIS lady, this AIRLINE EMPLOYEE who had made us RUN all the way to the other terminal HAD TO HAVE KNOWN what she was doing. SHE MUST HAVE THOUGHT IT WAS A FUNNY JOKE. SHE WAS GOING TO PAY!
The “bad wolf” in my head recited the riot act I would be giving the lady as soon as it was my turn at the counter. The “good wolf” on my other shoulder tried to counter, but it was unproductive – the “bad wolf” was too strong.
The baby whined in tears in the stroller; my silent voices alternated between whining and ranting inside of my head.
While I stood in line, my older son started walking in circles around my legs. He held his hands on my knees, as if going around a Maypole, singing a happy song as he walked.
I was so annoyed, even my precious child’s voice was on my nerves, and I was just about to ask him to be quiet, when I stopped and heard what song he was singing:
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I say rejoice! Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I say rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! Again I say rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! Again I say rejoice!”
I couldn’t help but think that God used my son to relay a message that day: rejoice! Not sometimes. Not when I feel like it. Not when someone else deserves it. But always. Again, I say rejoice!
I can only imagine the airline employees’ lives I was about to lambaste with negative when the Lord interrupted with my son’s song.
So I had 5 wonderful days in Hawaii instead of 6, was it really that big of a deal?
In the end, Murphy loses; God wins. I am on the winning team, and I need to act like it! Always.
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
Thank you so much for that blog! I am going to print that one off and post that on my wall! That is so true though. God wants us to be happy thats why he gives us the struggles, so that we may grow and appreciate the good days we do get blessed with. As Orrin Woodward talks about in his book “Resolved: 13 Resolutions for Life”, reframing a situation. There is always something good that comes out of as situation whether it is the fact that it was a learning experience or something great happened!
Wow! You have GOT to stop writing articles like this. People are going to discover that the wrong person in our house is writing books!
Seriously, though, I remember that trip as though it were yesterday. Only you could bring it to life like this and make such a powerful point with it! Write on, my fair lady, you are touching lives!
So very true! Keep writing and inspiring us Terri. We don’t take it for granted.
Terri- Loved this post. It was so real. We’ve all been in similar situations and haven’t always done so well. God was pleased that you listened to his gentle reminder, I’m sure. Blessings- Ruth.
Terri- Very well written as always. I love your use of humorous visuals. You paint a vivid picture to help us all “be there” too.
Chris- great news! You are BOTH incredible authors. I look forward to Terri’s book to go public…now to get it out of her head and into print. Perhaps it’s already on its way….
What a team you make! Great reminder Terri.
Terri, that was excellent! Has anyone ever told you that you have remarkable timing, lol. I can say I’ve had similar days, only sometimes my reactions have been far less beautiful, I’m sad to say. “Putting off the old man and taking on the new” especially when your tired, can be a feat. I had a situation a couple days ago in which I was upset and out of the blue my now 3 yr old looked at me and started singing “Kumbaya My Lord, Kumbaya….”. Don’t you love how He uses little ones?! :). Anyway, I really think you should consider writing a book. Maybe a compilation of your blogs for a daily devotional would be an easy way to break into it. I’m sure all of your followers would agree with a resounding “Yes”! (both Chris and yourself are gifted writers – is there an end to the giftings in your household????). Anyway, thanks for helping us keep focus on the right thing:-). Blessings to you!
I just finished the book
by Lysa Turkeurst and it was truly amazing at giving perspective when we are about to come “unglued”!! Thanks for your encouragement. We are definitely in this life together!
Awesome! Gotta go get that book, he he…;-)
Terri – Very inspirational! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with all of us.
Tara and I read this, and as we travel we have felt the same emotions. Your ability to put the stories to paper, and speaking is truly a gift. We are excited to read your book!!
Thank you so much for the reminder. That picture you drew as you wrote is so true although my experience isn’t inside an airport. Having 6 children I get frustrated but am always sent little reminders from God through my children and I stop myself and count my blessings. Thank you for being a true leader not just financially but personally and spiritually. May God continue to bless others through your words and actions.
I hope I will access the memory of this blog when I need to, and also to see and hear God’s messages to me that I am sure are often missed. Your good wolf lasted much longer than mine would have.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Terri! Your articles simultaneously convict and encourage me. Please keep writing!
Terri you are indeed a gifted story teller. You paint such vivid pictures and the Lord guides your words to touch people’s hearts. Thanks for blessing us through this blog can’t wait for you to write a book.
You are so transparent. I am so thankful that you share moments like these. We sometimes feel so far apart from what you have accomplished in your skills and behavior. What I love about the Brady’s, is that you don’t seem to forget what it’s like, or the defining moments along the way. Thanks for a peak into your journey! As always, very inspiring.
Once again you were right on. Thanks for sharing. It is always a blessing when I open up the email and up pops a new and oh so inspiring story from Terri Brady. Can’t wait for the book.
Thank you Terri for your incredible picture painting and story telling! I’ll take away two things from today’s blog: 1) The message from a child is really God’s voice; “Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS!” 2) when I travel alone with no children, I will always be on the lookout to help that struggling mom with kids in tow that could use a helping hand and encouraging words! You ARE an amazing writer and Chris is right, you ARE touching many lives! (I’m planning our church worship for September as I write this -yes, I’m procrastinating- and we are going to sing, “Rejoice in the Lord, Always” as one of our praise and worship songs! Thanks for the inspiration!!! You just touched 150 more lives!)
Thank you for the encouragement. I currently have a 5 year old and 3 year old and we have definitely had our days and flights just like this! We are beginning home school next month, so this blog came just in time to give my “filter” a quick tune up before we begin our new adventure.
Thank you for being real ! Keep Sharing !!
Terri, how well I remember those days of young parenting, and how vividly you bring them back to mind! Unfortunately, I didn’t always make the good choices you did in Hawaii. Thank you for continuing to be real with us.
So, when is your first book coming out?
Wow, thank you so much for the encouragement. You are an amazing writer!
Absolutely loved this story !
Thanks for sharing
Reblogged this on pappabiggs.
Terri, I loved reading this post. It was a great reminder that we are to ALWAYS rejoice. Thank you for being such an incredible wife, mom and leader.
You are amazing, Terri, and a hero to many of us ladies. As mentioned in previous comments, your ability to communcate a message through stories is better than anyone I have ever seen. You will be a best selling author someday. We are so looking forward to having you and Chris in Milwaukee, Wi on the 8th. Thank you for all that you do!
Thank you! I needed to hear that today!
Awesome Terri! You always make me smile! Last week I was driving 5 hours with my 4 kids (2, 4, 6, & 8), my mom AND my mother in-law, an alarm clock that continued to accidentally go off, and a microphone connected to speakers in a bag. I was at the point of pulling over and walking when my 6 year old says into the microphone “This is your captain speaking, 2 hours left in our flight!” and then her sweet little voice starts singing “I am redeemed, by the blood of the lamb” and the whole car joined in! Priceless.
Thank you Terri for sharing your gift of storytelling and being a great example of living a better life!
Thank you so much for this article and story. As an in-home daycare provider I struggle constantly with losing my patience with so many little ones. I have to make a constant conscious effort to not lose my patience I guess I should say. Your story made a huge impact on my life and day today. I do need to rejoice always through every moment of my day.
I so appreciate the time and love you share with all of us. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Great story Terri, you have an amazing talent of helping others with your life experiences. Thank you.
In turn, I think God just used you to give me that reminder today. Thank you for your wonderful message.
Everyone needs to read this. Thank you for allowing God to use you. This blessed me and I will share the blessing with others.