Birthdays are always a time for celebration. A couple of years ago my family and I had planned a fabulous cruise down the Mexican Riviera. My husband, our two kids, my mom, and my brother arrived in Seattle on a beautiful summer afternoon. Everyone was very excited about getting out of their routines, getting some R & R. My brother was in charge of waking us up and my husband of keeping time to arrive at the airport. Much like in weddings, though, air travel can have unpredictable snafus or downright disasters.
We woke up late, and scrambled desperately to get our bags together, get the children ready, and haul it to the airport. Once there, we found out that two of the suitcases were too heavy, so we quickly reshuffled to avoid the incredibly unreasonable fees for chubby suitcases. As we stood there manically switching items from one to the other I hummed “Happy Birthday” to myself. Getting that squared away, it occurred to me that I might have left my laptop near the check-in counter. I stopped humming and started crying, but after a few minutes of frantic searching, I found it tucked in the stand where one writes out name and address on those flimsy luggage tags.
We ran to the long security line. My mom said we looked like a group of gypsies that she used to know in Mexico growing up—roaming from one place to the next barely able to carry all their things. Security took forever, and we missed our flight. It was the most tragic thing that could have happened on my birthday. Between tears, I thought about the cruise waiting for us to go to Mexico. I thought about long afternoons taking in the sun and drinking beers with my husband, mom, and brother while my kids played on the beach. Instead, we were stuck in the gray Seattle airport.
We got on stand-by to try and catch a flight that would allow us to catch the boat. As fate would have it, there were two seats available. The decision was made to send me and my husband while the rest of the family stayed behind to see if they could catch another plane, but they never made it on time. They arrived in California an hour after our ship had sailed. We tried to make the best of it—my hubby and I got to spend time together and my mom, brother, and kids went to Disneyland and Hollywood. Still, I think that flying on my birthday might be jinxed. Maybe next time I’ll take the train.