Missed flight, missed opportunity for calm

I make lots of little mistakes. Pretty much every day. This is part of my regular life.

Every once in a while I lose track of life, misjudge or blunder in a more public way that sucks others over the crazy cliff along with me.

I missed my flight this morning. It happens, I know. Traffic, illness, unavoidable compounding airline delays. Not today. I missed my flight because I wrote it down on the wrong day on the calendar and then repeated the incorrect information over and over in my head and aloud — without once checking the itinerary — until to me, it became truth.

Only I was wrong.

I got the call after I’d finished packing up — congratulating myself for my early achievement. (It was a very short-lived high.) I was still in my pajamas and about to do another load of laundry. Only I discovered I should have been at that very moment at the airport boarding a plane. There was no way to make it — not even for the next flight out — as the airport is an hour from my house.

Now I’d like to say here that I’m usually dead calm in chaos. I rarely blink at less-than-life-threatening crisis. I’m a journalist, a military spouse, and the mother of three. I’ve certainly had worse days. Much worse days. And I didn’t freak out.

But today I melted down.

I’m not sure why — but it probably took me a good ten minutes to pull it together, throw my last items in my bags, find some clothes suitable for travel and call the airline.

My teenagers by contrast were fantastic. They found me phone numbers, zipped suitcases, found my jacket, and pulled the car around. My five-year-old packed a backpack with coloring books, crayons and other playthings for the car ride.

“You can’t change what’s already happened,” my son said.

He’s right, of course. Wise at 19.

But in the future I hope I can change my reaction. Because I was able to get a later flight, in time to catch the connecting red eye. I’m not that far behind. Sure, I’ve missed the opportunity to travel with my friends. I’ll miss some afternoon activities. But I did get to have lunch and coffee with my husband and all three of my children, all together in one place, before I left.

And that is priceless.

My view from the very last seat on this plane.

My view from the very last seat on this plane.