Boarding the plane in Houston to head to NY for both my momentous first meeting with my birth mother & my cousin's wedding, I still felt remarkably calm. I was understandably excited but I had managed to build enough time into the travel schedule to feel relaxed. We were to fly to Newark and then head to Albany (a very quick flight) from there. We'd arrive on Thursday night early, settle in, have some dinner, get to bed early and meet L the following morning, leaving the whole day open for whatever we decided to do. Saturday we'd lunch with my brother, Kristin, and my parents & then head to the wedding shortly thereafter. Travel Day weather was bright & sunny, not a cloud on the horizon, nothing to mess up the schedule.
Unfortunately, I hadn't factored in the mystery flight closures that plague Continental at Newark. Upon landing in Newark at noon, we learned that our 2PM flight to Albany had been cancelled and that we had been rebooked onto a flight that wouldn't leave Newark until 7PM. It was the last flight to Albany of the evening and we had no reason to believe that it might not be cancelled as well. No one at customer service could give us any explanation other than weather for the cancellation. I was losing my cool.
At 3PM, I was calling rental car companies trying to book a car to just drive to Albany (it's two hours away, after all), but wasn't willing to up my rental car costs by $400 for the weekend.
At 5PM, I was in tears when our flight looked like it would be cancelled. I spent 30 minutes pulling my Elite Status clout around, explaining why it was so critical that I be on a flight that arrived in Albany that evening. We got some dinner vouchers and some additional miles but no one could insure that the flight would be leaving. I could understand all of this if there was snow, ice, rain, wind, even ridiculously cold or hot temperatures...but it was beautiful out. Gorgeous temperatures for May, sunny, not a cloud in the sky. What the heck was going on??
At 7PM, our flight was delayed but not cancelled. At 9PM, we finally boarded the plane. Arriving in Albany after 10PM, we found our rental car counter person had waited for us. I had had several conversations with him earlier in the day and he was on board with helping to make my reunion happen. I cried. I won't lie. I cried and I hugged him.
At 11PM, we finally checked into our hotel room, only to find a broken toilet. At 11:15PM, we moved to another room and collapsed into the bed. I was exhausted but happy to be finally in Albany, just hours from a meeting that I had imagined thousands of times throughout my 39 years. We would meet in less than 9 hours. I wondered if I would have trouble sleeping, the way I always had on Christmas Eve my entire life. I thought about what questions I would ask. I pictured what I would wear. I ran through the stories I wanted to tell her. I asked Eric numerous questions about our schedule for the morning...get up, get ready, eat some Dunkin Donuts (can't get those here), find the florist and pick up flowers for L, find her house, get out of the car, walk up to the front steps, and, and, and, here I hesitated. I couldn't manage everything. I fell to sleep solidly, not waking again until the alarm went off at 7AM. The day I had never imagined would ever come was finally here.
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