Taking my mom to the airport shouldn’t be this hard…

Time to head to the airport! This shouldn’t take too long- just 3 hours roundtrip…

Except it was longer…

And she barely made her flight..

We left 3 hours before the flight was set to take off.  It should take an hour and twenty minutes to get there..

Unless you are us…and traffic HATES us!  Especially traffic on the way to Chicago…

Almost every time my mom has been leaving here, we’ve had some kind of catastrophe stop us from getting there with enough time for her to leisurely walk her way to her gate and spend some time making friends.  This was no exception.

She was scheduled to fly home Friday.  I noticed early in the week that we were expecting some awful weather…


Here we are in the basement as the tornado sirens were going off on Thursday- the night before her 9am flight.  That would require us to leave at 6am….

The sirens stopped, and it seemed the threat to us was gone.  It was still super windy out, but the chances of a tornado had gone way down.  So after we spent a lot more time in the basement than all my friends (tornadoes terrify me, I am super cautious- we were considering bringing the mattresses down when the siren stopped and sleeping down there anyways), we decided to play it by ear.  Luckily, Southwest lets you cancel up until maybe 10 minutes before your flight.  So our plan was to set the alarms for 5:30 and check flight statuses and weather then.

5:30 came and it looked like flights were taking off.  But the wind!  Oh the wind!  I could hear it and I was dreading driving my minivan on the highway in it.  And the winds were headed to her destination. So chances were, she would be sitting in the airport in Chicago waiting…and waiting…and waiting…or she would be circling the air in Buffalo waiting for the winds to die down enough to land.  Neither sounded fun.  So we rescheduled her flight.  And had a bonus day of Gramma snuggles 🙂


And we booked her a later in the day flight, so we wouldn’t be rushed.  We decided to leave at 10:30, for her 1:30 flight.  The GPS took us some odd way that was not highway.  Right after my mom said “maybe this way is faster”, traffic stopped.  And it was downhill from there…

The GPS offered an alternate route.  We took it.  I’m not sure how it happened, but once I finally turned on Google Maps, and we found our way there, we came at the airport from the opposite direction…who knows…one of my many talents is not following the GPS correctly…

We managed to get to the airport at 1:00.  We drove up to departures and I got her suitcase out.  She had a quick goodbye with us all and went to check in.  We waited until she was done checking in and went on our way.

And then it went further downhill…as I took the wrong downhill ramp and we had to make another circle through the airport drop off area…while the 5 year old was screaming that she missed her Gramma and that she had to pee…and the 9 month old is crying because she’s tired of being in the carseat…

Loop 2 done and we head for the highway.  Now there were a few places we could stop for a bathroom before the highway. But Chicago scares me.  The places are hard to get into and out of, and it was the first time I made this drive in my huge beast of a minivan.  So I figured we would get on the highway and make it to the Oasis rest stop where there was also a Starbucks.

Only the highway was stopped.  Completely stopped traffic.  And according to Google Maps, it would be that way for awhile.  I offered the 5 year old a diaper to use.  She was not too keen on that idea.  Also, her movie wasn’t working.  And none of the iPad apps she was trying to use would work.  And the baby was crying… So I took the opportunity to pull out my hand pump and pump for the baby, so at least one of us could get what they wanted.

We finally made it through some traffic and I was looking and looking for somewhere to stop. The highway didn’t have signs saying what was at each exit- restaurants, gas stations?  What the heck?  I told her there was nowhere to stop and she said “what? Is this a city without homes? Can’t we knock on someone’s door?”  I almost said “sure, but what if they are a psycho?”, but then I remembered she’s only 5.  So we finally got somewhere I could see civilization that wasn’t just factories, and I got off the highway and pulled into a gas station.  We filed out of the car, went in and asked for the bathroom.  “There isn’t one, we lost the key.”


“Where’s the nearest Starbucks?” Is exactly what I said to that.  I was going to need something strong to get through this…

The man tells me there is a shopping center two intersections up.  So in we go…the baby was NOT happy with this.

Two intersections up and I see it…STARBUCKS!!  So we go in and head straight for the bathroom.  And then we get in line and spend way too much on some comfort food and drinks.  We sat and ate there for a break from the car.  Google Maps said we had another 45 minutes before we got home.


It was about this time that my mom texted me that she had landed.  She beat us home!  How crazy is that!

Luckily it was beautiful out today, so once we finally made it home, we went outside and just hung out in the backyard for awhile.

This adventure was 5 hours in the car…I’m going to be driving to Buffalo alone in the summer…so  just double this….

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