We survived. Barely. I won't tell you about all the trips to the bathroom mid-air, or the small cup of milk spilt in the aisle (Boy's), the half cup of coffee spilt in the seat (my BAD), or the laps around the plane, or even life after 120 snacks brought by me and then they offer my children Oreos. Aaahhh yes, Oreos. Nothing wrong with them. They're just full of PEP and help create LOUD children. Actually, overall the plane ride went well. I had brought a change of clothes for both Boy & Girl. We used them.
The planes were on time. People were genuinely pleased that Boy & Girl were not nightmares on the flight. The best part was on our way out of the first leg. We stopped to say good-bye to the pilot and he invited us into the cockpit. And...BOY got to sit in the pilot's seat. It was WAY COOL! Of course they gave me a hard time because I didn't have a digital camera. Wish I had.... Of course, Boy will remember this forever!
No, really the only tough part was arriving in Jacksonville. Airport is fine - at first... We walk a pretty long way after many hours of travel. By this time, my rewarding them with praise and kudos for being such good sports and well behaved children is pretty much streeetched to the limit. We are somewhat pushed for time as the Enterprise Rental car agency closes at midnight and it is now 11:40pm. So, I rush the kids (as fast as you can rush two small children with backpacks) through the airport and to the Enterprise desk. Everything is fine. They have my reservation. She asks for my driver's license and my credit card. I tell her that I am paying with a debit card and she tells me I can't. Whooaa Nelly, I tell her...I spoke at length with at least 3 people at Enterprise in making this reservation and everyone told me as long as I arrived via a plane, I could use my debit card. I don't have a credit card. She says she is very sorry, but that is against their policy for a one way rental and she has worked there for 4 years. I demand to speak to a manager. At this point - close to midnight in Florida, 9pm our time, the kids begin to lose it. Of course. Just as the woman hands me the telephone to speak with her manager, Boy & Girl start flinging their backpacks as high as they can into the air and letting them fall willy-nilly. I get on the phone with the manager. She basically tells me she is sorry for the incovenience and they have their policies and I tell her this: I have just flown all the way from California by myself with two children under 4, WHO AT THIS VERY MOMENT ARE FLINGING THEIR BACKPACKS INTO THE AIR! I NEED YOU TO HELP ME OUT HERE AND MAKE AN EXCEPTION!! There was a looong pause after which the manager told me that they don't usually do this, but they will make an exception in my case. HOORAY!
Now, if she could just corral my children who are now doing 50 yard dashes around me and avoiding my grasp! Just in time, my sister the Goddess Auntie arrives. She immediately engages the children and I finish the paperwork. We will be following her to her house to spend the night before venturing out to my mom's beach house. We have 15 minutes to collect baggage and 2 car seats from the carousel and get the car, before the rental garage closes. My sister steers us over to the carousel and we await the luggage. Luckily all three bags (I vowed I'd pack light...) and the two car seats arrive. I sprint over to get the final bag and as I throw it on our luggage cart, we notice Boy is now riding on the conveyor belt a good 10 feet away from us and continuing to go away from us... as if it is the latest way to travel. He is between someone's suitcases and is going at a pretty good clip. HUGE smile on his face. Practically waving he is SO proud of himself. A nearby man plucks him from the conveyor belt and I swoop him up, only to see my sister choking back laughter and uttering a very weak...sorry, it really is pretty funny.
And so we make it out of the airport. On the drive, even in the dark, I sense the quiet amidst the crickets and take in that wonderful swamp-like smell that is soulful, and the humidity which people complain about, but it immediately plumps up your skin and takes 10 years off your age. Easy. Well, maybe 8. We arrive at my sister's. An oasis with the breeze stirring the wind chimes and bright light shining out into the darkness welcoming us. We made it.