How An Unexpected Ending To An Unexpected Year Affirmed The Importance Of Flexibility

Is it just me or does anyone else feel like they’re barely limping across the finish line of 2022 and staggering into 2023? What a year! What an ending to a year!

My last couple of posts have been about the importance of being flexible during the holidays when you are an empty nester. That proved to be very true one last time this year.

Christmas In Nashville

My son and daughter-in-law treated my husband and me to a fun evening in Nashville for Christmas. We flew into Nashville on December 20, then, the next day, we went to dinner and to see Amy Grant & Vince Gill: Christmas at the Ryman. The concert was spectacular and it was such a fun evening. 

I have listened to Amy Grant’s Christmas Album for years, usually as I’m decorating for Christmas or wrapping presents. I have all the songs memorized and sing along, although not with as good a voice as I’m sure my kids would attest. It was such a special time to hear her in person, especially in the Ryman.

We planned to visit with them and our new grandson for a couple of days after that, then fly back to Florida on Friday the 23rd. We wanted to be home with my mom on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Well, if you watched the news at all, you may suspect what came next. Let me add that our flight was booked on Southwest.

Our plans changed when we began getting winter weather alerts. We decided to try to get out of Nashville before the snow and plummeting temperatures arrived Thursday night. I love the song Tender Tennessee Christmas, I just didn’t want to experience one at the moment.

We said our goodbyes and loved on our grandson one last time before we drove our rental car to the airport. On our way, I kept getting notices that our 9:45 flight time was delayed. By the time we arrived at the airport it was scheduled to take off at 11:00. We checked in and went through security. It was busy but not alarmingly so. Then the snow started. 

What I thought to be a Christmas miracle turned into a Christmas nightmare. Our flight that had been delayed until 11:10 was suddenly set to board at 8:45. Yes! We were going to make it out just under the wire. 

Trying To Get Home

We boarded the plane and buckled in before 9:00 but sat at the gate until midnight. Since Nashville doesn’t get a lot of snow, they only had one plane de-icer that all the planes had to use before takeoff. Finally, at 12:30, our plane was de-iced and we were ready to take off — that is until we had an announcement from the cockpit. There was a problem. Some valve that was supposed to be open was closed or vice versa. We had to go back to the gate to see if they could fix it. The maintenance guys worked for about thirty minutes then at 2:00 am, the pilot made another announcement — the flight was canceled. We weren’t going anywhere.

What happened next is something I have only seen on the news during the holidays. I had never experienced anything like it in person. 

We walked through a quiet, mostly empty terminal along with the rest of the passengers from our flight. I even remember thinking this isn’t too bad. As we rounded a corner, my optimistic thoughts vaporized — I was looking at a sea of people. Hundreds of passengers were in a long snake of a line trying to get rebooked on other flights. 

Downstairs, at baggage claim, it was the same. Hundreds of suitcases on the floor, people lined up four and five deep anxiously looking for their bags on the conveyor belts, babies crying, dogs barking and on everyone a look of desperation. Now what? 

It was 4:00 am when I found our luggage. My husband, who had been waiting in line to try and get a rental car then found me. We went upstairs to book a flight home on a different airline and headed back to our son and daughter-in-law’s house at 6:00.

We slept for a couple of hours, showered, changed clothes and enjoyed breakfast compliments of our son. We were ready to brave the airport once again. It was 0 degrees when we left their house.

As we drove through the quiet streets of East Nashville, I felt like I was in the middle of a Christmas movie. Snow blanketed the small yards in front of the bungalows and left a dusting on the Christmas decorations. I almost expected to see Ralphie, Randy and the rest of the gang bundled up walking to school. But no one was out and about, it was too cold.

We made it to the airport and made it back to Florida. 

The Gift I Brought Home From Nashville

On December 24, we helped set up luminaries in our neighborhood which is an annual Christmas Eve tradition. Like the previous few years, we enjoyed Chinese takeout with my mother and a cousin. My husband and I fixed Christmas morning breakfast for my mom and then we went to church. Only one more Christmas celebration to go; Christmas with my brother’s family on December 26.

I wrapped the last couple of presents and got things ready to take over to my mom’s house. I had not felt the best when I woke up and assumed I was just getting a little cold. I decided to take a COVID test just in case. Yep, you guessed it. Right before we were to leave for Christmas with my brother’s family, I discovered I had COVID.

So, once again we had to be flexible. My husband went to dinner without me and helped my mom celebrate Christmas with the rest of the family. That evening, they took the second part of our annual family Christmas photo. With the magic of technology and a tech-savvy son-in-law, we have the best Christmas photo ever. We just hope that next year we will all be able to be together at the same time in the same place. But it’s nice to know that with a little flexibility you can still have a wonderful holiday. 

How about you? Did you have to be flexible about the holidays this year? Were any of your travel plans affected by the weather? How did you adjust? I’d love to hear.

3 thoughts on “How An Unexpected Ending To An Unexpected Year Affirmed The Importance Of Flexibility

  1. I hope you are feeling good now. The gift of memory is one not to be taken lightly. Whether our memories are good or bad, we remember the sights, sounds, feelings, taste, God provides it all. I love that you have the ability to write them down so well. Happy 2023 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry I’m late reading your blog. Wow, what and end to 2022. I always love to read your stories. Praying you recovered quickly from Covid and no one else in your family got sick.
    Peace and Blessings for 2023.

    Liked by 1 person

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