From birth to age 17 my oldest was under my roof on her birthday.
For her 18th Paige and I went to Texas from Haiti to be with her. For her 19th I did the same. For her 20th I was already in TX thanks to a giant earthquake.
This week is the first birthday I won't spend with her. I suppose it was inevitable. At some point the perfect streak would have needed to end. No, I can't really foresee myself dragging by weary old lady butt to celebrate her 64th birthday when I'm 81 --- but missing her 21st birthday did bring some tears. It feels a little soon to let this tradition die.
HAPPY 21st Birthday Brittany Rachelle. You are loved and missed. (And Chris too just four days later ... Happy Birthday Chris!)
The only bright side of not seeing my baby - I will miss out on the traveling ...
reprinted From March 2009:
I used an "awards" ticket, which does not mean you're being awarded with something nice. It means to thank you for all the money you spent on previous tickets you will be offered really bad choices and get stuck with an overnight in Florida or Atlanta. They never award you with something awesome. When they give you something free, they want it to suck so you don't want more things for free from them ever again.
Sleeping in the Fort Lauderdale airport is.not.possible. I layered all the clothes in my carry on (five shirts two pants) and still got hypothermia inside the building. I am 100% certain the area hotels cover the expense of dropping the air conditioning to 45 degrees to try to force more business their way. It is a conspiracy, I know it. I prevailed, though. No hotel got any of my money.
I slept from 1:15 am until 2:42 and it was totally relaxing and awesome*. The wood bench was so inviting, the massive industrial vacuum coming by over and over and over acted as white noise and the employees loudly emptying the trash and talking about me in Creole was super-relaxing too*.
At 3am I considered breaking the meat and cheese out of my cooler bag in order to lie on that and try to warm up. At 4am I gave up and just started walking in circles to stay warm. When I got in line to get rid of my bags again at 4:30 I learned that I am not very polite in an airport after no sleep. Some woman jumped my case for being in the wrong line and "cutting" -- I assured her there was nothing more in the world that I wanted to do in that moment than to BLESS HER*! Go right ahead ma'am.
It turns out that I could not cut in line because they don't check Port au Prince passengers in the main ticketing area. They do it downstairs off to the side. I can only speculate it is because there is much packing, unpacking and re-packing that happens when people come back to Haiti. No one in their right mind is coming back here with one ounce less than 100 lbs of something good.
I must have looked horrific ... the puffy eyes, the layers and layers of clothing ... something ... Because the guy that finally helped me re-check bags at 5:39am (not that I was watching the clock) decided to upgrade me to first class. It was then that I figured I would for sure see someone who supports our work and they would think I spend their money on first class airline tickets and other super fun things and they might think I went to Disney World too and I would fumble and be awkward trying to tell the story of how I got upgraded without even asking ... and it was a free ticket and I only went to see my kid because of her birthday but we hardly spent any money and ...
But that did not happen. So that was wasted worry. I tend to be tortured when tired.
I drank 72 ounces of coffee between 6am and departure time ... which meant I could stay awake and enjoy my HUGE reclining seat in row 6 of the First Class cabin with the other fancy people - and the hot towel that came with it.
It. was. awesome.
While I am operating on just a couple hours of sleep, as unwise as it seems, I am going to make a MAJOR confession. I know I have friends I love that will be offended, but I feel the time has come to finally admit it publicly .... thus allowing me to openly mock aforementioned friends later.
I loathe matching t-shirts for traveling mission team members. Truly. A lot. I feel sad for people every time I see it. These folks pictured here made me frown at gate F6 today. They went to Jamaica all yellow and matchy. So sad for them.
Troy likens it to what the late great Vince Lombardi said about being in the end zone: "Act like you've been there before!"
Aaaaaahhhhh. That felt good. Off my chest.