As it turns out, the airline staff was mostly super helpful. B got a gate pass in LA, and helped me get everyone on the plane, someone helped me get everyone off in St. Louis and it all worked out similarly on the way home even though I had a layover with a long delay. We managed. There were tears on landing and takeoff and there was frustration (Mia's) from being kept contained, but mostly, it was okay. We made it. Despite stress and anxiety and an ear infection (Mia's) (cue mama guilt for not knowing).
On the way there, Mia barely slept, despite Sammie B so kindly holding her hand (her idea) and singing to her (also Sam's idea) a song she'd made up herself (Mia Mia Mia Mia-ahhhhhhhh), and I sort of dreaded the flight home (with the layover). The day we had to fly back, I was anxious and grumpy and everything seemed to go wrong and I wasn't a particularly nice person to encounter . . .
And then, when we boarded our second flight (post delay and layover), there was this:
Mia had fallen asleep in my arms, Sammie B was snuggled next to me watching Cinderella (for the 898th time) and I *HAD* to use the restroom. I decided to take my chances on Mia waking up, and called a flight attendant and asked her to just stand next to them. I asked Sammie B if she would stay with Mia while I went, and laid Mia down. I came back to this. And my heart stood still.
I picked Mia back up (who miraculously stayed sleeping) and Sammie B snuggled into my other side and fell asleep. And all the *stuff* going on in life that had me stressed out and anxious melted away, and in that moment, all felt right and perfect and magical.
These two. Make my world go 'round.