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Since we are at the mercy of the flight arrangements made for us by the powers that be at my husband’s job, we are subjected to nearly a full day of travel due to the connections we have to make on our return flight home. Our first leg is a 1:30 departure to Miami, with about two hours to make the connection to Philadelphia. The careful navigation of the shuttles to the airport, claiming our baggage and checking it again, clearing security and customs is a blinding headache with an obstinate, sleep deprived toddler. 

We manage to get through all the hoops to get to our gate, but come boarding time, getting him to cross the noisy runway to board is a challenge. Knowing how much he hates loud noises, I brace myself for his state of panic when we realize we’ll be boarding the plane outside. He does reasonably well considering, but it’s unsettling for him and us to wrangle him. He is pretty happy to settle into his seat, but for the first time in at least five flights, a flight attendant insists that he turn off his movie unless we make him wear headphones. 

Understandably, I can appreciate why but he hates to wear them and keeping the volume low has worked for us in previous experience. Luckily, the people seated in front of us chime in to hi defense, saying they can’t hear it and it’s not a problem for them. She agrees to allow it at a low volume, but seems displeased. 

It was a moot point because the flight itself was less than an hour long and he was asleep in my lap for the last half. Arriving in Miami, we have little more than an hour to kill before the last leg of our journey home. The gate we need is a sky train ride away. 

Our gate was pretty quiet and we grab seats while my husband goes off in search of food. He arrives back with three personal pizzas from the Pizza Hut kiosk. My son devours his and asks for more. I see some healthier snacks at another kiosk and pick up some veggie straws, an apple and peanuts. 

Returning to my seat, the woman next to me informed me I’m in her daughter’s seat in a rude, snippy tone. I retort that my family and I were here first but relinquish the seat, figuring my son could sit on my lap if needed. Her daughter arrives, only to sit on the floor. They’re joined by two others one of which finally takes the contested seat and they blather on and on about their trip from Cuba. 

I hate everything about them by this point and the time to our flight slows to a crawl. We finally board, as weather reports show snow showers in Philadelphia. Hopefully this doesn’t impact our arrival or our trip home from the airport. Temperatures should remain above freezing, but just barely.

The car service takes forever to pick us up, but it’s only a half hour or so to get home. We manage to snag the rail crossing, which puts us even later home than we wanted. 

But there’s something so sweet about walking in the house after a long trip. The cats are happy to see us and there’s not much else we want to do other than to settle in for the night after the long day. We end up letting my son stay up a bit later than usual since none of us have eaten dinner. But we all sleep soundly shortly thereafter. It’s great to be back.