So Annabelle and I traveled back to Houston on Thursday. Just the two of us. I was a little worried about how it would go, but all things considered, we did great. There were, however, a few exciting moments. 🙂 …
First of all, when we go through security we raise a few eyebrows. I have two buckets to put through the x-ray, along with the car seat and the stroller. I wait as long as I can to put the car seat and stroller up on the counter, but I still have to move the items a little ways toward the x-ray. So when I put the car seat up there, I leave Annabelle in it.
I have already taken her out of the straps so I’ll be able to pick her up easily and quickly, but I am waiting until I’ve pushed everything up to the x-ray to pick her up. I simply only have two hands, and the stroller is pretty cumbersome, etc. I can’t hold her and do both. Then an airport employee comes up to me and says, “Ma’am, you can’t put your baby through the X-ray.” I want to say, “Really? You think?” But I don’t. Instead I say, “I’m not planning on it. I just can’t move all of this and hold her at the same time.” I guess because I don’t pick Annabelle up right away, the woman repeats herself, looking at me as if I hadn’t understood. I assure her that I understand, but she just stands there and looks at me. Again, I want to say, “I’ll be happy to pick her up if you would like to help me.” But instead, I just smile and nod until she goes away. Unbelievable. But obviously, someone has tried to do it before. Poor, poor child that belonged to those parents!
After we have walked through the passenger scanner and are ready to collect our items, we are told to, “Stop right there!” We are about 3 feet from the scanner, and I don’t know how we would have made a break for it–what with me carrying an infant and all our necessary junk still waiting to be collected–but we stop. Next thing you know they are swabbing my hands for evidence that I had been handling a bomb. They swab the stroller, too. It is all very interesting. I think Annabelle and I have actually dressed quite cutely for the day–not so much terrorist-like. Annabelle has on a pink outfit with “Love” written across her butt and I have on a white sundress. They did not similarly search the family in front of us, and my friend Kyara (who had flown out of the same terminal just days before and lives nearby) says she has NEVER encountered such a search. It is just us.
Finally, we are at our gate. I am starving. Annabelle had been in the mood to test her vocal range that morning/afternoon, and with packing and getting to the airport, I never ate lunch. Thankfully, there was a Chili’s diagonally across from our gate. It was about 4:30, and our flight didn’t leave until 6, so we got a table. The waiter asked when my flight was, I told him, and he said, “So you need to be out of here by 5:30?” I said, “Yes.” 5:30 was when boarding was supposed to begin, and my gate was, at most, 100 feet away. I ordered, fixed a bottle for a hungry Annabelle, and all seemed to be going well. The waiter brought me a bowl of hot water to sit her bottle in to warm it up. My food came, and I managed to feed Annabelle her bottle and eat my sandwich at the same time (although it required me to be standing up in the middle of the restaurant, one hand in the stroller, one hand over my plate–good thing I’m not the embarrassed type).
When I have finished eating and Annabelle has had enough to hold her over until I give her the rest after take off (to help her ears pop), we pay the bill and get up to leave. It is 5:30 exactly. We walk straight to our gate, and I notice that the seating area is empty. The gate staff is watching us approach as they announce, “Last call to board flight #____ to Houston, TX. If you do not board immediately, the plane will leave without you.” What?? I’m at the counter in a second, “But this flight isn’t supposed to leave for 30 minutes?! How are we late?” “The pilot has decided to leave early,” she explains. What?? I didn’t know they could do that. And this is the first announcement I’ve heard. But I hand the woman our boarding passes and off we go towards the plane door.
Everyone is rushing me (even though breaking down the stroller, etc., is not something I can do in 2 seconds). There are 3 men there to help me, though (because, of course, I am the only person not on the plane). I do not have time to reorganize all my carry-on items, and Annabelle is piping up. So instead I clumsily bump down the center aisle, trying unsuccessfully to not hit passengers with the diaper bag, and trying to bounce Annabelle in a please-don’t-chose-this-moment-to-have-a-meltdown kind of way. It was a very long walk. Our seats were in the last row. Every eye on the plane is on us. And no one looks happy. Afterall, we’ve held up the plane …and I have an infant.
We make it to our seats. I somehow get all our junk in the way-too-small row 38. The mortified looking woman sharing row 38 with us gets up to let us in. The flight attendant feels so sorry for her, she offers to move the woman to another seat, and the woman accepts her offer. No sooner have I sat the two of us down than the plane starts to back up from the terminal. We are beginning to taxi, and then Annabelle poops. A big, smelly, larger than life poop. She starts screaming. I ask the flight attendant, “Is there any way I could change her diaper before we actually take off.” “No,” she says, “You’ll have to wait until the pilot turns off the seatbelt sign once we are in the air.” She turns to go. I am giving her a look that says, “Do you really want to leave this until 35,000 feet?” I guess she thinks better of it, because she asks, “What kind of diaper are we talking about?” “She pooped,” I say, very matter-of-factly. The flight attendant looks torn for what to do, as Annabelle’s face starts turning red from the screaming. “Let me see if I can get the pilot on the phone!” she says, and dashes off to ring him. Everyone in the back half of the plane is tuned in to what is going on, and again, they are all staring at us. The flight attendant comes back. Ok, he’ll wait, but you must hurry.” The plane has stopped. The flight attendant has already opened the lavatory door and put down the changing table for us. I carry a wiggling, screaming Annabelle in and turn to close the door behind us, when the flight attendant says, “That’s not necessary. You need to hurry.” I shut the door anyway. I get my baby girl changed (ignoring the small amount of poop that has stained the edge of the onesie underneath her “Love” pants, and skipping the butt paste all together), we return to our seats, and the plane taxis to the runway. We take off. I give her a bottle, and she happily watches our assent out the window. She is an angel the rest of the flight, and I am VERY thankful.
When we finally land in Houston, I snap these few pictures, because I feel like shouting “We made it!” and it seems like we need pictures to commemorate this historic event. I let every passenger exit the plane before we get up. It just felt easier that way. 🙂
I gave her a bottle during decent, and a milk-drunk baby was out like a light.
We may have held up a very large airplane twice…but it still left 15 minutes early and landed early in Houston! In my humble opinion, we did nothing wrong and they all should have actually been applauding my baby girl for her gracious 3 hours of happy silence during the actual flight. It could have been MUCH, much worse.
Kyle and Rachel picked us up and took us home. When she finally woke up, she seemed VERY happy to be back.
Finally in our pajamas, we were BOTH very ready for bed. 😉
Visiting her Great Aunt Marta and Great Uncle Neil for the first time, Annabelle tried out sitting up. She was just hanging out on the couch like the rest of us, watching T.V. She loved it, and the four adults in the room loved watching her. 🙂
Annabelle’s first day–EVER–at the beach! It was a test, to see if she was really mine. 😉 Because she wouldn’t have any DuPree in her (my mother’s side) if she didn’t LOVE the water. Good news: SHE LOVED IT!!
Annabelle met her great grandfather, Charlie Reed Jones, for the first time when we visited Florida. On Wednesday, September 14, her great grandmother’s birthday, Annabelle was given her very first rose by Charlie. He wanted to be the first man to give her a rose. 🙂 Roses were his late wife, my grandmother Jannibelle’s, favorite flower. Jannibelle, however, was sadly allergic to roses and could only have artificial roses in the house. So Annabelle’s first rose is an artificial rose with a gold heart around it that has Charlie’s name on it. Annabelle snatched it up immediately and played with it for quite a while. It’s something she will have forever. Enjoy the pictures. 😉
Annabelle grew out of the duck pajamas that she is wearing in her 4 week old pictures almost immediately after the pictures were taken. Tonight, I realized she had also grown out of the pair in the middle of this picture. Annabelle and I had a nice long talk after my little realization. She understands now that she needs to slow this growing thing down. Mom is not prepared for such rapid growth. Annabelle needs to stay a little bitty baby a little bit longer.
Photos by Lacie Brawner
A is for Annabelle—sweet beautiful grace—
and the light of His Love that encircles your face.
B is for Bennet, proud family of girls,
who wore wisdom and folly with ribbons and pearls.
C is for chocolate, sweet daily escape.
It will never forsake you, and never be late.
D is for dog, for to have one you must!
And it’s rare that you’ll find souls more worthy of trust.
E is for Emma, the first Austen I knew.
From vanity to love, a young woman she grew.
F is for Florence, where time seems to cease—
and the wine and the art live down cobblestone streets.
G is for grace, such incomprehensible need.
May you know it and trust it, much sooner than me.
H is for Hemmingway, and his Moveable Feast.
In the city of lights, drink slow aperitifs!
I is for image, for in God’s you were made.
May you cling to this truth, when you question your place.
J is for Jesus, the man Who is God,
Who is Love, Who is Light, Who makes new what is flawed.
K is for Kipling, Brontë and Hughes—
may the poets teach beauty; may love be your muse.
L is for linger, and I pray that you will.
When tomorrow seduces, baby learn to be still.
M is for Mother, to be yours I was blessed.
Please forgive me my failings; know you were my best.
N is for need, and admitting it’s there.
To be known, to be held—very little compares.
O is for Oswald, and his daily insights.
When your wandering turns weary, he can help shine a light.
P is for path—the way taken by few—
may it make all the difference, when taken by you.
Q is for questions, oh never stop asking!
Dream dreams upon dreams; build worlds everlasting.
R is for reading, and the power of books.
With words may you find, may you tell, may you search.
S is for sorry—most powerful word.
Know when you must hear it—when it must be heard.
T is for time, and there’s never enough.
So don’t waste what you’re given. Be the first one to love.
U is for unexpected, unbelievable, unknown.
Don’t fear to embrace it. Don’t forget to be bold.
V is for virtue, and guarding what’s pure.
Hold it close—but if lost—know His Love still endures.
W is for wine, and the riches in life.
May you always drink slow, what is simple, what’s right.
X is for treasure, for X marks the spot!
Build your treasures in heaven, free from rust, free from rot.
Y is for youth, darling never lose yours.
For a heart that is young, finds anew open doors.
Z is for “Zee End!” Oh few words start with Z! 🙂
So when you find yourself there, may beginnings greet thee.