Arriving at the airport shortly before 5:30, we check our bags curbside, put the baby in the stroller, and we head inside. I check Jim’s flight schedule and see that he’s delayed, and instead of arriving at 6:45, he won’t be here until 7:30. I can’t wait that long to feed the kids, so we go to the really nice food court area and get them a hot dog. As we grab our dinner, the girls see Santa. Yep, the man himself has a nice throne set up at Philly International, and a friendly – although disorganized – helper is taking complimentary Polaroid pictures of anyone interested. I figure Granuaile will never get closer than a football field length to the man, but Eilis might want to go see him. I start walking over in that direction, and Gracie BOLTS – like she has been shot out of a cannon – into Santa’s unsuspecting legs and clings on for dear life. Her happy little eyes plead with him to forgive the entire year of transgressions and focus only on her adorable little self, hugging his legs as if her very life depended on it. The “helper” is ooohhhhing and aaaahhhing over how adorable this is and how cute this is and oh my gosh Santa, don’t you think this is the sweetest thing ever?? Santa has apparently NOT been doing a bustling business here at the airport, and they are really hoping my kids agree to get their pictures taken – as if there’s any way NOT to take their pictures at this point. So we get a quick picture, and we go back to the food court to eat the dinner and wait for the picture to develop.
Following dinner, we find me a latte (ewwww – Java and Jazz, skip it next time), and head out to the gate to wait for Jim and our flight. No. We’d better not. It’s way too early. We browse the mall, turning Eilis down at every store for all of the things she claims we need, want, and gotta have. After 30 minutes or so of telling them “no” every 23 seconds, we are going to the gate. I will not suffer this torture alone – let them bother the other passengers waiting for a nice, peaceful vacation in Orlando.
We head over to the gate, and the girls are excitedly watching the planes come in and out. Granuaile, who has never been here before, claims every plane as her own, and shouts, “I SEE IT!!” every time red, yellow, green, blue, or any other color lights go by, followed by “I READY!” It’s so cute. 14,296 times. So cute. Really. It must be, because I’m noticing people moving away from us, and I imagine the cuteness must just be too much for them. Especially when she starts going right up to people, as they are reading, talking on their cell phones, and working on their computers, bending her head so that her face is right in their face, to tell them that she is going on the plane see it there it is outside that’s her plane and she’s ready to go are you ready to go are you going on plane to Disney World and see Mickey Mouse and Goopy (that’s how she says it) and stay in the hotel…I check my watch. Where the heck is Jim??
So then they make an announcement that they have to change our gate because there is a flight leaving to Tampa at the same time ours is leaving to Orlando, and the Tampa flight has arrived early, and ours has not arrived. We now move from gate B15 to C27 – a long walk. Eilis is complaining because her feet hurt. She elected not to wear socks with her boots, and I give her a thick pair of mine (all I had handy), and they are bunched up in the boots. We get to the other gate, and now I am praying for Jim to arrive. There are no TV screens here to tell me his flight status, so I ask the guy at the podium, who tells me there are no flights coming in from Milwaukee. Oh. This can’t be good. I’m getting a little freaked out, wondering if I should get on the plane or not, and quickly decide that I’d better just get on the plane and hope for the best. I take the kids to the bathroom, change the baby, and as I’m heading back, Jim calls. WHEW. He has landed and just has to wait for the shuttle to our terminal. Thank goodness! In no time, he is meeting us at the gate we have been moved to, and we are boarding the plane.