The Journey Home

I haven’t been home in six days.

This morning when I woke up at 3am, I was in Southern California.

I’m back in the Pacific Northwest, exhausted.

When we took off, the flight attendant pleasantly informed us that our flight would only be an hour and 45 minutes long, which meant I might be able to run home before heading to work to grab a bite to eat and maybe change clothes (because of course the baby spit up all over my black pants, the only work appropriate attire I took on vacation). Instead, about a half hour after we had been circling our destination city, the flight attendant came on again, just as pleasantly, to inform us that the runway lights were not working and since we couldn’t land without the lights, we had 13 minutes of fuel before we needed to land at a different airport to refuel and wait for the lights to be fixed.

I am normally a very level-headed flyer. Turbulence doesn’t usually bother me. Long flights are a piece of cake (I started flying overseas at the age of 5). But I freaked out this morning. Maybe it was because I was functioning on very little sleep. Maybe it was because I was holding my baby. Maybe it was because when I looked over at the two seats holding my husband and son, I was struck at how much I love them. And this is not how it should end.

Of course, there are fuel reserves in airplanes. And pilots are experienced in emergency situations. And there was a plan B and probably a plan C if the runway lights didn’t come back. There are other airports to land at safely. We were not going to die in that plane. I’m blaming sleep deprivation for my extreme reaction.

We ended up landing at the original airport just a few minutes later than our scheduled arrival time, and as I drove to work, wondered why Oregonians are such terribly slow drivers.

It’s amazing how fast I can go from freaking out about a perceived emergency to getting mad about slow drivers in the fast lane. 

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