My parents were blessed to spend New Years in Maui with my sister and her family, relaxing on the beach and enduring the rooster calls on the island. Being the kind and thoughtful daughter, I volunteered for pick-up duty on their arrival home. When they booked the tickets, I remember hearing the return date as January 11th, a date that coincides with a special occasion for one of my nieces, who is from Maui. I thought it coincidental that the dates matched.
Calling my brother, who had taken them for their departure, I wanted to confirm the airline and flight time. All was good. Here’s my sticky note.
I feel the need to point out the extent of my niceness. That 6:49 is A.M. The airport is 30 miles from our house in the same direction all the Phoenix metro traffic heading downtown. Big fat bumper-to-bumper bummer.
Before I volunteered for o’dark-thirty parent retrieval, I checked with all driving family members to see if it was “more convenient” for someone else to go. Nope. Two had to go to work and one to band class. The glitch in this scenario is that our daughter had to be to her reading specialist at 8:00 a.m. From experience, I knew that I couldn’t make it back from the airport in time to take her and I didn’t want to wake her up at 5:15 a.m. either. The princess needs her sleep.
I called a faithful friend who also has a child in the reading class and asked if Nora could sleep over at her house. Sure! That’s what friends are for. I delivered her to her pajama party late on Tuesday night.
My alarm, which incidentally is only set a few times a year, blasted it’s jovial wake-up tune at 5:15 a.m. Please remember at this time that I am a homeschool mom. One of the top reasons we homeschool is so we can get the rest we need… i.e.: we sleep in…. almost every day.
I threw on sweats, brushed my teeth and hair, and went out the front door into the chilly AZ air. Brrrr… in the low 50s. Black skies laughed at me. I am always surprised when it is dark in the morning, for I rarely see this phenomenon.
Traffic wasn’t bad at all and I pulled into the parkade with 15 minutes to spare. After making mental notes of the level and parking area, I checked the screens for arrival times. 412 from Kahului just landed….6:28. Early! Good. This should go quickly. My comfy bed might even still be warm when it welcomes me back!
If you have ever landed at Sky Harbor in Phoenix, you may be aware of the dual runways and the occasional need to taxi for 15 minutes to get to your gate. It adds to the suspense of deplaning. Thankfully I remembered this little tidbit and was not alarmed by a 20 minute delay between the landing time and seeing weary travelers in Hawaiian shirts getting off the red-eye flight. Finally several vacationers trudged by wearing neck pillows and carrying pale green Hawaiian Cookie Company bags. I was a tad alarmed when I didn’t see my very own weary parents. There was no way I could have missed them walking by. There is only one gate for them to come out of. I was there the whole time. But they didn’t show up.
Baggage claim is right down stairs from where I had been sitting for 30 minutes. I decided to take a trip down there to see if Dad and Mom teleported from the plane to the baggage area. Nope. All the Hawaiian shirts were sitting on the floor awaiting their tardy suitcases.
Back upstairs I went… a bit concerned. Could something have happened to one of them on the plane? I called both their cell numbers several times. Both went straight to voicemail. I didn’t want to call my sister to see if she put them on the plane because it was 3:45 in the morning in Maui. I called my husband who was across the tarmac in his office. “I can’t find my parents,” I lamented. He comforted me by telling me they were probably just lost. Great! Where do I report missing persons?
My husband suggested checking my text messages again from Maui. I opened up my brother-in-law’s message and it read, “Mom and Dad arrive Thursday morning at 6:49.” Big fat early morning bummer. It was Wednesday.
Their flight WAS on the 11th of January… but arrived on the 12th of January. I was 24 hours early. I decided not to wait for them at the airport.
A Starbucks caramel apple cider soothed my weary soul before I left the terminal. After handing over my $5.00 for parking and I was on my way home to my snuggly bed.
(In a couple weeks I am scheduled to pick up my niece ON THIS SAME FLIGHT! Hopefully I will get it right next time.)