Lydia Seabol Avant | The Tuscaloosa News
They say the best-laid plans often go awry.
For spring break last week, we planned for months to take our three kids to New York City for the first time. We had a combination of flight credits and frequent flyer miles, which meant we’d be splitting up and my husband would take our two oldest kids and fly out on one airline in Birmingham, while I’d take our 6-year-old daughter and fly out of Atlanta. But by doing so, we would all travel for free.
I had planned out day-by-day, typing an itinerary that was complete with tickets booked and dinner reservations.
And when the day came to depart, my youngest daughter and I got up before dawn, got to the Atlanta airport and boarded our direct flight. We made it to New York’s JFK International Airport without any difficulty. We made our way to the hotel after easily finding our hired town car.
But it was then that I got a call. The flight my husband had planned to take with our 12- and 10-year-old kids had been delayed, and then altogether canceled. As he waited on hold with the airlines for three hours, he got online and booked three more tickets later that day out of Nashville. The three were about to drive three hours to Tennessee when an alert came across my husband’s phone. That flight had been canceled, too.
Travel can be hard enough with kids, but it’s even more difficult when flying alone with kids and having cancelled flights. The airline with the canceled flights finally told my husband that they couldn’t get them to New York City for at least two days.
Meanwhile, I made it to the hotel with our 6-year-old and wondered if we’d be spending the week alone without the rest of the family. Our first-grader was distraught, because she wanted to see her siblings.
Our best-laid plans had definitely gone awry.
But we decided to make the best of things. Our original itinerary had been scrapped. And as a result, I tried to do activities in New York City that a 6-year-old would enjoy.
We went to watch people ice skating at Rockefeller Center. I took her to the American Girl store nearby. And then we both played on the giant piano at FAO Schwarz toy store, where she picked out a stuffed animal tiger to bring home. We took pictures along the way, as my youngest daughter loved having her photos taken with the tall skyscrapers and anything and everything in the toy stores.
It wasn’t anything I had originally planned. But a wrench in our travel plans resulted in mother-daughter time in New York that ended up being really special.
The next morning, while we were still in bed, there was a knock on our hotel door — the rest of the family arrived. They had to drive to Atlanta and fly with a different airline at 4 a.m., but they had arrived.
Our vacation had been saved — and in many ways, is one we’ll always remember.
Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.