And OF COURSE I was at gate 70 and had to hightail it all the way to gate 88. After barely making it--and feeling like my chest was going to burst by the time I handed in my boarding pass (maybe cardio should be in my future)--I found my seat. Did you know that Continental has DirectTV on their flights now? I didn't use it (since I want to save money and stretch out my dollar as long as possible) but I WAS super impressed with the free preview you were given for a half hour. (after which your little TV in front of you switches off by itself and you have to use your credit card to continue to view it) I mean, IT'S A TV. IN YOUR SEAT. Maybe for the next flight to Honolulu I'll try it, since that flight is obviously much longer. Two and a half hours later, I arrived in Florida.
When I left the airport, I noticed immediately that I wasn't in Jersey anymore. For one thing, it was 80 degrees (and climbing to 90 for the day, yessssssss). For another, there were palm trees everywhere.
My buddy Tana pulled up to the pick up area with a giant smile on her face. Tana is my oldest friend. I met her shortly after our 12th birthdays. She has since (besides Ohio where we grew up) lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma and now Florida. Despite writing, e-mailing and calling, I hadn't seen her since her wedding. She got out from the drivers side, rushed around the car and embraced me in a big hug. "Hiiiiii! How ARE you? Oh my gosh! I missed you!"
"I missed you too!" I replied. I'll confess I was slightly nervous. In the time that Tana and I haven't seen each other everyday, she has gotten married and had a baby (named Ethan), but I had yet to meet her little one. I'll also admit this: I haven't been around little kids for long periods. Don't get me wrong, I'm okay with kids (I was better with them when I was younger) but I play with them for a couple of hours and then Mom and Dad are ready to take them home. What was staying under the same roof as a toddler going to be like? I knew it would be different then when Tana and I were in our late teens and 20's, going out whenever we wanted. Was Ethan shy? Cranky? Would he like me? (listen to me, seeking approval from a toddler) I honestly felt like I kind of missed the mark with my nephews and I felt it was important that Ethan and I got a great start. He was my friend's son. All that fear however, melted away the second I got in the car.
"Hi!" Ethan exclaimed beaming from his carseat. I marveled at how much he looked like Tana. He had the majority of her facal features, including her nose and mouth. "This is Katie," Tana told him. "Okay. Hi Katie. Wanna play?" He asked me.
From then on we did. the second we arrived at Tana's house he took my hand. "Come on!" Ethan said cheerfully. "Let's go. I show you my room." He led me to all his trains and cars, (Thomas rules all) and we took the toys and began pushing them aound the house.
During lunch, he had me try my first new food: PP&J. I know, I know. Not very sophistcated, but there you have it.
Already I can see a change with this trip. I'm finding my confidence again and I realized I'm much better with kids then I believed. It's been a joy so far in Florida. Before I close, I just want to add to Mom bloggers out there: HOW on Earth do y'all do it? (blog I mean) I haven't had a chance to sit, much less blog. There's way more important stuff, like trains.