Being stuck in Columbus, Ohio wasn’t my plan. When my kiddos were younger, a little time alone in a hotel would sound dreamy, but I wanted to go home to my kids who would be in school all day after I returned.
While I’m disappointed and missing my family after three days away, I’m making the best of it and I am thankful for my “new-old friend.”
I came to Columbus for an inspiring leadership workshop. It was a refreshing weekend that afforded me the time to reflect, plan, and define my visions and goals for not only myself and my life but also for the organizations of which I am a part. (Stay tuned this week for leadership skills for Moms.)
I feel invigorated and centered. I’ve filled myself up and I am energized to go home and shine in my roles as a Mom, wife, friend, writer, business owner, volunteer, educator, doula…. I couldn’t wait to get home and hug the kids and Nick who would be waiting for me at the airport! My head and heart were happy to be going home – but they’d have to wait.
After parting ways with my new-old friend, I funneled through self check-in and waited in security. The TSA guy who checked my tickets turned me around, told me my tickets were for the wrong day and escorted me out of line. What?! Confused and wondering, I returned to the airline counter calmly, certain it would be fixed and I’d be on my way. I quickly learned that, instead, I was to be stuck in Columbus.
Well, there were a couple of one-way flight options for $800 – $1400. Okay, what’s plan B?
My ticket agent shook her head, trying to help me, she looked sorry that there were so few options. As she directed me to the next airline over, I spotted my new-old friend nearby at the same moment she noticed me. You know, a new-old friend, the kind of friend who feels like you’ve been friends for years, decades, even as you ask each other the basic get-to-know-you questions.
Jennifer and I met Friday night and talked like sisters of the heart. Faces washed, snuggled into PJs, sitting with our feet curled under us, we talked as if we were just catching up after a time apart. During the weekend, we laughed over shared stories and learned more about one another than I know about many of the women I see every day at home. It was easy, supportive and comfortable. It was friendship.
Do you believe in friends at first sight?
On our shared cab ride to the airport, we answered the driver simultaneously with identical words, in the identical cadence. We turned to each other, amazed and laughing. During the workshop, we had met local business leaders who spoke about the symbiosis and rhythm they share with their business partners, I joked to Jennifer, “Want to go into business together?”
As I faced this stuck-in-Columbus dilemma, I was so relieved to have her there; I didn’t have to freak out alone. I cleared my head and together we rallied and tried to solve this from every angle.
We pulled out iPads and iPhones, we called, Googled and talked to airline counter agents up and down the corridor. We tried flights into every airport between New York and Boston at airline kiosks and online. We
evaluated rental cars (Columbus is 12 hours and 7 minutes from home). We checked out trains (none out of Columbus, Cincinnati is a 2 hour drive, where is Elyra? There’s a train from there).
Doing this together made a stinky situation so much better. I felt supported as my new-old friend and I managed our first joint venture.
Jennifer and I said our good byes again; she flew home and I checked into a hotel. I got myself a cup of tea and settled in with my book thinking about lemons and lemonade.
In the end, I’ll hug my family tomorrow. Late tomorrow, more than 24 hours later than planned, but I’m living what I believe by looking on the bright side. I’m grateful for here and now. I’m safe and despite the upset, everything’s okay. I’m thankful for my new-old friend who stayed by my side through my afternoon stress and who I can’t wait to see again.