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The captain announces that we are eleventh in line for takeoff. He informs us that customer service will be available at the gate for connections. His tone is solemn and implies no one’s going to make their connecting flight.  

We are on the ground another 20 minutes before we tumble skyward into the choppy wind like a drunk in heels. Somehow we stay airborne and stagger awkwardly into our eventual cruising altitude. Suddenly the air thins and smooths and we are on our way. 

We pull into Charlotte with little time to spare. We arrive at our connecting gate with 11 minutes to spare. It’s enough time to grab some bojangles fried chicken and get on the plane. 

My son and I are seated together but my husband is on the other end of the plane. With such little time between the flights, it’s impossible to know if our bags made it on with us or not. 

The long travel day is wearing on us all. My son needs to run and just can’t. He’s totally burned out on all the entertainment options we brought for him and it’s a challenge to get him through the next few hours. 

Touching down on the island, people applaud. I had heard about this phenomenon, that it was a “white person thing” but I’d never seen it in action. I didn’t join in because it felt slightly disingenuous. Navigating customs was another series of long lines and waiting. By some inexplicable act of fate, our bags actually made it, intact and on time. Unfortunately, our travel arrangements dictated that they’d be delivered to our room separately several hours later. 

Still, our arrival and check in at the resort went smoothly. The view from our room was awesome. The weather was lovely. We set off to explore the resort. 

If you look up reviews of the Atlantis resort, everything they tell you is true. It’s very clean, safe, well appointed and beautiful. Their aquarium features are built into the design of the landscape so you pass open pools of rays and starfish as you meander through the pools and fountains. It’s truly an experience my son enjoyed. 

The day’s travel did wear on us all, and by the time we sat down for dinner, everyone was cranky and exhausted. My son fell asleep at the table and none of us really got to eat. We went back up to the room and did our best to decompress but the crankiness endured. Eventually we all got to sleep but it was an ugly process. But once we were all settled where we were supposed to be, we slept deeply, ready to face the next day’s adventure.