Holding Pattern

hanging out in the redwoods

This trip has not gone exactly as I planned.

I had this fantasy of what was going to happen: we were going to spend a couple of days looking at every house on the market in a good school district within our price range (which is a total of about twelve), then spend a couple of days making offers and dealing with logistics while also slotting in some fun – a trip to the Children’s Discovery Museum, maybe, or the pony farm at Half Moon Bay. (I’ll write about how the house hunting part went later; I’m feeling all superstitious and want to see how it comes out in the wash before I make any predictions.)

And then that “carsick” thing that I mentioned the other day? Turned out to be one of those 24-hour bugs. And on the way to urgent care with Indy at 7AM to make sure it was nothing more than that, I discovered that whoops, I had it too (and let me tell you: I discovered this in basically the most dramatic way possible; I won’t go into details because eww, but…EWW). So post urgent-care, we spent the day doing literally nothing while doing our best to inhale as much Pedialyte and water as possible, respectively. We did so much “nothing,” in fact, that it became actually kind of fun in its own way – our B&B was cozy, and airy, and there’s something to be said for a day of cartoons and not much else.

There was even one moment, right before we went to bed, when we were laying on the pillow and looking at each other and just smiling, and Indy reached out and stroked my cheek, in exactly the same way I stroke his when he’s feeling bad. It made the entire day – this whole trip, this whole move, this whole life – just…worth it. Kids have a way of doing that, right when you need it most.

After twelve solid hours of sleep, we woke up the next day all better, and drove up to Berkeley with Francesca and her brother, and it was so much fun: steam trains and ice cream sandwiches and shoulder rides and all that good stuff, so I was feeling super positive and like we’d ended the trip on a great note.

And then, this morning?

I missed our flight.

I have never in my life missed a flight. I can’t even explain it; basically what happened was that I switched out our rental car at the San Jose airport rather than the one in San Francisco, and I guess…I don’t know, I guess I just had it in my head that I was heading back to the San Jose airport. And it was four in the morning, and I was out of it and…I don’t know. It’s such a ridiculous thing for me to do. Anyway, what would have been a leisurely stroll to our airline turned into a madcap sprint to the airport we were actually departing from (SFO), and we did end up getting there in time, but not before our seats were given away.

Guess when the next flight we can get on is?

9:15PM. Just to be lay this out, that means that when we finally step foot in our house in New York, we will have spent a full 27 hours in transit, including FIFTEEN AND A HALF HOURS sitting in the airport itself.

When I realized this at 6:30 in the morning, as we watched our flight board without us, I cried. They were telling me that there were no standby spots for the rest of the day, and that we would likely have to spend the night at the airport, and I just…felt so furious at myself. It’s been a long, exhausting week for both of us – both physically and because of the not-inconsiderable emotions surrounding this move – and yeah, Indy has handled everything really well (even stunningly well), but still: I promised him we would go home today, and now we’re not, and I just want to pick him up and fly him across the country myself. I want him to feel safe and happy and like he knows where he is. I want him to be home, like I promised him he’d be.

So I cried. I apologized in advance to the agent for being a basket case, put my head down on the ticket desk, and cried. Because we missed our flight, and because my bags were making my shoulders feel like they were going to break off, and because I felt like a terrible parent, dragging my son down endless airport hallways. Because I miss my daughter so much I can hardly stand it. Because I wish I wasn’t struggling to find somewhere for my family to live in a town made for millionaires. Because I really wish I could just go home, too.

And then? I stopped crying, and dealt with it.

Because yes, I made a really stupid mistake, and this is definitely the kind of thing I specialize in beating myself up about, but what it comes down to is I’m the parent, and Indy is the child, and it is my job to make sure that he knows that everything is okay. Which it is. This obviously isn’t very much fun, but it’s also not all that terrible on the spectrum of terrible things that can happen, and that’s an important thing to keep in mind – and to make sure he keeps in mind, too.

our little makeshift work-and-play station

our little makeshift work-and-play station

I made some calls and talked to the ticket agents, and we decided that it makes more sense for us to stay in the airport, in case a seat opens up on standby (which it won’t, but it’s not like we really have anywhere else to go anyway, since I already returned our rental car). I bought a day pass to the Skymiles Club, where we can eat and drink and nap. I googled “What to do in SFO with kids,” and it turns out our terminal has an aquarium, so that’s the afternoon taken care of. We bought a toy plane, and some orange juice, and downloaded a new movie.

I want my son to be home, in his own bed with his own toys, but even more than that I want him to know that wherever he is, he is okay, and that no matter what, I am with him and I will take care of him. I want him to know that it’s okay to cry if things feel overwhelming, but only for a second: after that, what you do is dry your eyes and figure it out. And mostly I want him to see the adventure even in the disaster. Always.

I screwed up, but people screw up. I got us stuck at the airport, but…people get stuck at the airport. I can’t change it, and the only thing that I can do is make the best of it. And so after I was done with my mini-cry, I took a deep breath and turned around and kneeled down in front of Indy, and asked him if he wanted to go on an airport adventure today.

He did.

And so that’s what we’re going to do.

  • tess

    Well it sounds like you handled it pretty awesome. Like any mom would handle it. Your trip definitely had some bumps but making sure he’s okay and that he knows bumps happen but there’s still joy to be found…you’re doing a great job. And I’m SO sorry you missed your flight. We have all been there one way or another. Be it airport, work, meetings, whatever. We’ve been there. Way to hang in there. I hope your day passes very quickly and you’ll be home soon.

    • jordanreid

      <3 thank you. it helps SO much to read this.

  • emily

    Hi Jordan. I’ve been reading your site for many years, way back to the days of NonSociety. You’re so hard on yourself and I just wanted you to know that you’re doing such a great job with everything – the kids, your work, your relationships, the move(s). You did the right thing by letting yourself cry for a moment and get all that emotion out, then moved on. Take a deep breath, give Indy a hug and you’ll be home soon. As for finding a house out here in the Bay area, it’s crazy times out here. After a decade in SF, having run a successful design company that was acquired, I *still* can’t compete with the absurd prices. You’re not alone! It’ll take time but I have no doubt you’ll make it work. <3

    • jordanreid

      emily, thank you. i needed that.

  • So sorry this happened but love your attitude!


  • Jan Kotila

    Jordan – what a big bummer!

  • Lauren Marie

    About 3 weeks after a hellish move to NYC from Ohio, I took the bus out to LGA to make it home for Christmas. I was going home 2 days earlier than my husband. I boarded the bus to LGA for my 1 hour trip…….oh wait. You mean 2 1/2 hour trip! It took me almost two hours to get across the island of Manhattan, the bus was so crowded people were yelling at the driver when he tried to let more people on. Then, he took a break when we got to Queens. When I realized I might miss my flight, I started crying hysterically. You know you’ve arrived in NYC when you cry on public transit and don’t care. I didn’t know anything about the city and there were no taxis available. So, I just cried on the phone, my husband felt so bad. I got to the airport literally 10 minutes before the plane departed. They told me I wasn’t allowed to check in. My husband got on the phone with the TSA guy and yelled at him to let me through, but to no avail. (haha) I stood in line at the ticket counter, crying in front of all the happy holiday travelers about how much I hated the city and I wanted to move home. THEN, I got to the counter, and dealt with it.
    They had me on standby for a plane in 1 hour, which was golden, because it was already 7pm. I called my family, very calmly and told them everything was alright (I made the flight). Of course, I didn’t have to wait all day, but there’s something therapeutic about losing it, then just dealing with whatever comes.
    And that’s my dramatic, airport story…..after years of NEVER missing a flight, it is so devastating at first.
    But good for you girl, now you’ll always have an airport adventure to tell!


    • jfc

      How pathetic.

  • SJ is not SF

    Sorry Jordan but your endless “ditzy little mishaps” are tiresome. You’re a grown ass woman in your thirties. The endless locking self out of things, the losing things, forgetting to lock your front door, ooh I went over on my ankle … ad infinitum. It’s not cute, it’s kind of pathetic. It makes you look like a hot mess.

    If you think these are real hardships then you are very lucky you’ve had such a sheltered life. And writing about your messes on the internet looking for headpats from equally pathetic people is embarrassing.

    Grow up.

    • Hope Varnedoe

      you are seriously a horrible human being! shame on you for your hateful nastiness. karma is a bitch so you better be on the lookout – next time you’re down someone’s gonna come by and kick you in the face just for the pleasure of it. i wish i could be there to see it.

  • Laura

    Hey Jordan! I love reading your blog. I normally don’t ever comment but I feel the need to apologize for the person below “SJ is not SF”. I don’t know you and you don’t know me but it hurt my heart reading their mean comment this morning. When I saw it I wanted to delete it, to keep you from seeing it and feeling any kind of sting from it. I can’t do that but I just wanted to remind you (even though you already know) that you are a strong smart amazing woman wife mother who is making the most out of each and every situation that comes her way. Sh*t happens, mistakes get made but that normal and thats life. It’s your reaction to those things that matter and from what I read in this post you made your trip, even with it’s unexpected turns, into a fun, memorable experience for your son. So, forget any negativity, you are awesome!

    • jordanreid

      thank you, laura. <3

  • Michael Sullivan

    Well I can attest your child seemed quite content with his toys, the movies, and the back part of the sky club… a well-behaved cutie

    • jordanreid

      haha, thank you. great to meet you 🙂

  • Hope Varnedoe

    you’re handling all this like a champ jordan – you’re teaching indy invaluable lessons in realizing that bad things happen and sometimes you just gotta cry but then you dry those tears and you move on – and that’s what you’re doing. sending you lots of love and hoping you get home soon and safely with no more bumps in the road

  • Jocelyn

    Jordan (in typical fashion and appropriate considering your post, I just typed a whole comment and then somehow accidentally deleted it…) Oof! Let’s try this again. I am so impressed with your resilience and your outlook and your overall approach to pretty much everything! OMG! What a trip. I absolutely love the way you shared your journey with us in all of it’s optimistically honest beauty. We have ALL been there and we will ALL be there again but it’s all about finding those tiny moments of bliss (or as close as we can get to bliss) and living for them. T H A N K Y O U!

  • Jaime

    Jordan, I felt so bad for you when I read this post (so “pathetic”, I know!)! You are an AMAZING mom and you dealt with the situation better than a lot of people could have (i.e. at least you didn’t project your frustrations on to someone else). Thank you for being honest and sharing this story with us, and for reminding us that it’s okay to sometimes put your head down, cry, and then move on, as Hope puts it in her sweet comment below. It seems like there are so many big changes going on for you right now and that can be overwhelming, so well done to you for sticking it out and yes, being grown-up about it. And the trollers’ gonna troll, troll, troll, troll, troll …

  • Jennifer

    I love this post!

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