Home again

We arrived back in Los Angeles late last night after a hefty dose of travel challenges. Denver is not the most hospitable airport, we discovered. They are the only airport we know of that refuses to bring the little Smart Cart around security for us to continue using on the other side. So there we sat, a tangled mess of children and carseats with no human means for getting to our gate. A kind supervisor eventually took pity on us and radioed ahead to United to request assistance to our gate. When the gentleman with the extra-wide wheelchair arrived, he promptly refused to push the wheelchair with the carseats in it. Even after the TSA agent assured him that she had just spoken with United about the request and that they had sent him to help us.

He would not budge, so Mercy ended up riding in the giant wheelchair, in all her footed-dog-jammie glory, while Doug carried two carseats and the wheelchair attendant carried another. I could have forgiven his grumpiness and his reluctance to help us. It was much harder to forgive him for taking us as far as the eating/shopping area in the middle of the terminal, asking us which gate was ours, and when we told him, telling us that he was going the other direction while dropping our carseat, ejecting our daughter from the wheelchair, and taking off.

I don’t know how we made it to our gate. Mercy stumbled along (it was two hours past her bed time at this point) while Doug miraculously walked with carseats balancing off of every part of his body. And when we finally arrived, we were greeted with the news that our flight had since changed gates and we were now flying out of a gate on the absolute opposite end of where we stood in that terminal. At this point, Doug and I were covered in sweat and Mercy was growing delirious and our flight was scheduled to begin boarding. I am sure that more than a few travelers told their loved ones about the crazy woman pushing a double stroller at high speeds through the terminal, calling out to the little blonde girl running beside her to keep running because the T-rex was right behind them and they were almost to the Great Valley where they would be safe.

When we boarded, Doug went on first to install the carseats, and I stood by the entrance to the plane with the three kids waiting to gate-check the double stroller. The looks we got from the other passengers were priceless. At one point someone referred to us as a herd. A herd.

We did ultimately encounter grace that night in the form of the sweet young man seated next to Doug. I honestly do not know how we could have gotten off that plane without his help. He packed up and carried the diaper bag backpack (and Mercy for a little while), and he accompanied us all the way to baggage, helping us load kids and carseats into our van while telling his friends repeatedly via cell phone that they would just have to circle one more time because there was a family he needed to help. What a contrast from the wheelchair dumping we had received a few hours earlier from someone being paid for their time.

Our stay in Denver was thoroughly enjoyable. It was great to be with Doug’s extended family and to see Mercy and Aaron delight in their cousins, aunts and uncles, and great Grandma. Other highlights included Doug singing a solo at his Grandma’s church, me being the only customer in a Starbucks not wearing a cowboy hat, a trip to the Denver Children’s Museum with one of my best friends, and a surprise date night with my husband courtesy of that same friend. I also had the pleasure of meeting Sally Morganthaler who was co-teaching the Fuller DMIN class that Doug was in Denver to facilitate. She was warm and kind and I was grateful for the chance to meet someone I have appreciated and admired from a distance.

As crazy as it was to travel as a “herd”, it was certainly worth all of the effort, and I am grateful to Fuller for helping make this trip a reality for our family. Watching friends lose loved ones last week has reminded me of how very important it is to do what it takes to connect with those we love.

Categorized as Family


  1. seriously? rude old guy? a herd? perhaps the haubs and haublets should consider renting a VW van if you’re going to be making anymore trips to colorful colorado. i’m really sorry about both airport fiascos but glad that you made it home ok in the end. it was amazing to see you all and meet elijah!

  2. Patty,

    Yeah, it was pretty exciting–and I left out the parts about losing my ID, and the very, obnoxious stewardess…

    We miss you already!

    Oh, and the coffee is AMAZING!

  3. You have great airport/plane stories … great from my perspective that is. It sounds like you had a fun time. Keep up the fantastic work. When is the book coming out? You should be writing a book, you know … In all your spare time.

  4. Thanks, Steve. I would love to work on a book. I think this whole blogging thing has confirmed that for me 🙂 Yeah, spare time…what is that again?

  5. Amen to the book idea :^) I’ll be in touch relatively soon to kick around some Renewal Media ideas with you once I get my other nonprofit (Visions Made Viable) up and running. I realize no book will be written for a few years, but no reason not to start thinking about it.

    Well, Jan and I have probably seen about a dozen cowboy hats total in the 4.5 years we’ve lived here (well, except at the National Stock Show…). We felt like we saw more in West LA than we have here–we’ve actually been sort of disappointed to miss out on that local color. We must be hanging out in the wrong parts of town. Where was the Starbucks where everybody had on a Stetson (and a six-shooter?)? We’d love to check it out!

  6. Oh, Erika! I am so sorry to hear what a difficult time you had getting home. If it makes you feel any better, the worst plane trip I ever had was with Emma flying home from Europe when she was about 3 months old. Rude flight attendant, gate attendant, passengers, etc. No place to change the baby, etc., etc. It is like everyone feels babies should never fly. We loved seeing you. Hope you come back in the summer sometime. By the way, Mercy left her dinos. Send me your address and I will mail them to her.

    Love, Aunt Kris

  7. Oh yes, the Dinos. Pretty sure Mercy brings it up every single day. 🙂 And she keeps telling me that she wants to play with Faith, and every time she does Aaron chimes in: “And Jo Jo!”

    Wish we were closer!

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