August 19, 2017

making memories in the TSA line

At 2:30 am one of the kids started to cry.  Coach thought it was Mini.  'It's me, Reggie.  I don't feel good,' came the whimpering voice in the dark.  I hopped up and ushered him thru the maze of air mattresses (we were down to two air mattresses as opposed to three because we were now in the room with two queen beds, but still) to the bathroom.

At first I assured him that he wasn't going to throw up.  I asked him what I always ask my kids when one of them admits to me that they don't feel well.  'When was the last time you pooped?'  He claimed it was recent, and he was convinced that wasn't his problem.

Our conversation was cut short.  He puked his guts out in the toilet, brushed his teeth, and hopped back into bed and went right to sleep.  Coach and I on the other hand found the room temperature a little stuffy and the experience a tad jarring.  We laid awake for the next hour or so.  There's nothing quite like sleep deprivation after already being exhausted from traveling.  Making this unforeseen awake time even more awesome was the fact that our alarm was set to go off at 4:30 am.  We had an early flight, air mattresses to deflate, kids to corral, and a cab to catch to the airport.

In the morning, Reg told us that he was feeling much better.  He and the other kids ate what was left of the cereal.  Dry.  I couldn't pay any of them to pour the somewhat sour milk on their cereal.  Kids today!  They drank some juice, gathered their stuff, and sleepily staggered down the hallway to the elevators.  Our load was considerably lighter without the extra huge bag with all of our food in it.

This huge duffel bag was jammed full of food when we checked it thru to New Orleans for our flight out of O'Hare.  On the way home, we stuck a smaller bag in it and consolidated.  I wasn't aware that American Airlines had gone 'dark side.'  I guess I don't travel enough.  They have joined all of the airlines that I avoid like the plague, because they nickel and dime you.  'Welcome aboard flight 321, if you want to use your seat-belt on this flight please hand the flight attendant the mandatory $150 fee.  Thanks, have a safe flight!' 
At the airport as we stood in the TSA line, Reg gave me a look.  'I don't feel good again,' he whispered.  Seriously!  I reached in my purse and pulled out a plastic grocery bag.  I'd like to convince you that I am a mom-of-the-year candidate and have you believe that I had strategically planted that bag in case a kid needed to hurl in the TSA line, but it was just luck.  Well luck, and I am a Mom after all, so I do have one of everything in my purse.

Reggie stepped up to the agent.  He answered a few questions, like 'Are you Reggie Shenanigan?  What is your birthday?'  When this kid fears that he is going to be in trouble or he is getting yelled at, he doesn't move his upper body.  He becomes very stoic and acts like a robot.

My 11 year old son then stepped to the side while in robot-mode.  There was no flailing, no doubling-over, no moaning.  He simply bent his head over the white grocery bag and vomited into the bag repeatedly.  It was as if this was one of the expectations of the TSA crew along with removing shoes.  Emptying the contents of your stomach.

Coach was a few steps ahead of us.  I motioned until I had his attention.  'Ask where the nearest garbage can is,' I ordered as I pointed to Reg.  Coach's face suddenly registered that his youngest son was getting sick.  I still had to present my boarding pass to the TSA agent.  Reg's quiet mode kept him off this guy's radar, so while my son stood holding a bag of throw up near the guy's elbow, Mr. Clueless continued to grill me on my name and my birthday.

With my boarding pass in hand, I dug into my purse again.  This time I emptied a plastic grocery bag full of snacks into the purse and handed Reg the empty bag.  The agent working the x-ray machine waved Reg forward.  Then he called out, 'Wait a minute.  What's with the plastic bag?'  He looked annoyed.

'Oh, he was throwing up about 3 minutes ago, so I thought he should keep that bag in his hand,' I explained.  The agent blinked and waved him thru. 

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