C’mon and get ready for another adventure or two as you follow the traveling mother and son duo to Italy!
Monday, March 1, 2010 – 3:00 p.m.
Believe it or not, the half-hour flight from Pittsburgh to Washington was uneventful. In fact, I didn’t even make a journal entry about that part of the trip. However, that all changed once we landed in Dulles Airport!
We had a few hours to kill before the final boarding for Italy, so Chris and I decided to get a quick snack to eat and then we would do our final money exchange. Okay, for me it was the only money exchange. Ever since Chris told me about this trip I had fussed and worried over the money. I told him I had a secret stash of cash saved for this trip, but I needed to know how much to bring along. Now, for me a “stash of cash” is an amount of coins that will fit loosely into a small coffee can. For Chris, a “stash” is…well, slightly more.
He kept telling me that I didn’t need to worry about the money part, but I’m a mom and I wanted to pay for at least part of my way on this trip. So, I spotted “The Money Exchange” in the airport, and off I dragged Chris to help me get this task completed. I boldly stood up to the window and counted out my one dollar bills (I think I drove the teller crazy, and I know I drove Chris even MORE crazy). Yay! I now had “Euros” of my own to spend! I could treat Chris to meals, and I could buy some gifts. I could even help pay for gelato! Until this very moment, I didn’t even know what the money exchange for Europe/Italy was called! Obviously, I had not met Rick Steves yet. (Do you remember him from a previous blog entry?)
Note: It’s a super wonderful thing when your kids back off from showing you that you really are dumb! Even though you know that they know, when they don’t tell you to your face it’s greatly appreciated. Chris, thanks for allowing me the dignity of feeling like I was paying for some of this trip. I needed that! I really, really needed that! Thank you for allowing me to feel like I was contributing my part even though we both know that I wasn’t.
Chris followed me to the window for the remaining “extra Euros” he was going to bring to Italy, and like a pro, he flashed that fanny belt of his to the teller, whipped out his plastic card, and said……”Cash it in!” We were set to go! The money exchange was completed. Look out Italy! Here we come!
We had another hour left to wait for boarding, so we went to our gate, and I was fidgety so I stood up and watched other planes taking off and landing. Chris was content doing the same until five minutes before time to board. No, I take that back….the call for boarding had been made. “Section 1 — time to board!” We were in Section 2 which meant we were next!
What did Chris do right at that very moment? He looked at me and said, “You go ahead and board. I’m going to look for a place that sells hot tea.” WHAT?!?!?! “We’re boarding — right now! You cannot leave here! We are boarding!” “Yes, I sure can leave! I want some hot tea, and there’s no rush with the boarding. They’ll be a good half hour boarding this plane.” And, with that, off he went!
My stomach felt sick. Why does he have to do these things? Is it fun to see the color drain from my face? Is it a kind of game to play to see how long it takes to bring on the “big one”? He didn’t need hot tea any more than I needed to meet the man in the moon. He wanted to make a momentous impact on me by missing the plane! I could see it in his face. This was all part of the plan. He’d call the other kids and tell them the trip was off because I went crazy on him right before the plane was ready to take off.
Now, this is where a lot of my family will be saying, “She’s doing it again. She’s exaggerating. She’s fabricating a story. That really didn’t happen the way mom is telling it.” Kids, listen up! It DID happen, and it got worse!
The plane to Rome boarded……….and I continued to stand “alone” by the gate and I continued to text Chris. “Where are you?” “Please answer me!” “Everyone is on the plane but the two of us.” “Please don’t do this, Chris!”
Nothing. No answer. No Chris. So, I looked at the lady at the desk by the gate and explained, “My son and I belong on this plane that is going to Rome, but my son…..my son went to get some hot tea, and I can’t find him.” “Ma’am, I strongly suggest you get on that plane now because in exactly two minutes the doors will be shut, and that plane is taking off.”
No time or energy to cry. My hands were trembling as I began another text. Darn him! I know he has his phone on. Where is he? I’m gonna kill him when I see him!!! That’s when the text came through. “I got my tea. Got a bit side-tracked looking at the chicks. Am on my way.”
I looked up to see Chris slowly walking along with that darned Rat Tail, his cup of tea, and his phone in his hand. And, he was laughing! He thought the entire incident was funny! He really, really did!
Another Note: All kids work very diligently to make their parents sweat blood, and most of them succeed more than once. And, for those wondering….yes, Chris was a success! I’m still very much in recovery!
We ran to the door of the plane, showed our boarding passes and passports, and the door was successfully slammed shut. This was it! Nine hours and twenty three minutes in flight. There were no more escape routes for Chris. The two of us, mother and son, on a large jumbo jet filled to capacity with people headed for Rome. Thank you, dear God! We made it this far!
There’s no turning back now. The dream…… the life-long dream is finally going to happen!!!! Italy, I can almost touch you!