We survived our trip to Atlanta, but just barely in my case. I spent most of the day as a nervous wreck and finally broke down and took a tiny speck of Xanax in the hopes that it would help, but it didn't. As my husband will attest, I don't handle situations that are essentially out of my control very well - and pretty much all of yesterday was out of my control.
Things did not get off to an auspicious start. Even though I had checked in online, we had to stop at the check-in counter to get a gate pass that would allow B through security with us. There were three counter agents and four customers, and yet it still took us 20 minutes. The guy behind the counter apologized repeatedly for the delay while I stood there and vibrated from fear that we were going to miss our flight (I have a thing about being late). At some point, but I don't remember when, the counter agent handed me a driver's license, which I put in the pocket of the sling I was using to carry Elizabeth. He then handed B a gate pass and sent us on our way. At the time, neither of us thought to question why the man hadn't asked to see B's ID.
When we got to the entrance to security, I fished the driver's license out of the sling pocket only to discover that it belonged to some man I'd never heard of. I frantically pulled out my wallet, afraid that I'd somehow lost my license, and find it right where it belonged. I gave it and the other license to the TSA agent and explained that I had no idea who the man was. He gave me a very strange look. After he finished checking our boarding passes and figuring out who was who, he asked B for his gate pass. It was then that we discovered that the name on the gate pass matched the name on the stranger's driver's license. The driver's license that I fished out of my pocket. The TSA guy gave us another very strange look, like we were trying to pull something. But what a couple with four kids could be trying to pull is beyond me. The TSA guy told B he couldn't let him through without a gate pass with his own name on it. We had a quick discussion about whether he should go back to the Delta counter to get a pass with the correct name. I quickly vetoed the idea because of how long it had taken us the first time.
So we kissed B good-bye and waded on in to the security lines, which were mercifully short. All I'll say about going through security is that it was every bit as chaotic as you could imagine trying to get four kids, two car seats, and three carry-ons through would be, but we survived. The TSA agent who had dealt with us at the entrance came over to screen our stuff. He really seemed suspicious of us.
But from that point on, everything was smooth sailing. Campbell had a blast watching all the big planes coming and going while we waited to board. The gate agent took pity on me and allowed us on the plane first. The flight attendants carried Campbell's car seat to our row and gave us extra cookies and sprite during the flight. The four kids behaved perfectly throughout the trip, even Campbell, who never complained about being in his seat. They were so good that passengers around us complimented me on their behavior.
We got off the plane to find my sister, who had bad news. My mom thought our flight arrived two hours later than it did, and she and my dad had just left the house, which is an hour from the airport, to get us. It's a good thing my sister called them when she did, or we would have had an even longer wait.
In the meantime, we herded the kids through the teeming masses, rode the underground train, and got some dinner. But I am very glad my sister was there to help. I'm not sure I would have made it through without her assistance. Campbell was bound and determined to get separated from us.
Eventually my parents arrived, and we headed for home, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. We had a few glitches, but none that made it necessary for me to have a nervous breakdown or to cook and eat one of the children.
I hope our return trip goes as well.