Traveling with children definitely takes some getting used to. We don't do it much, so no one is really used to it. To "vacation" would be restful, ideally. But with children, it isn't. We had a great time, a stressful time, an enjoyable time, an exhausting time. I would do it again. Next year.
After a semi-decent breakfast at the hotel, and packing again, we headed back up to my sister's to surprise them with another quick visit. They were at their small town's annual festival and we were able to locate my brother-in-law's booth for his (and his friend's) business.
We rushed through security, all the nice people in front of us letting us pass when I explained the situation. They ended up confiscating our toy we had gotten as a souvenir from the Chicago planetarium and a bottle of water Brielle had snuck in her backpack. Somehow they let her 6 pound rock go through.
We made it on the plane with moments to spare and had to rearrange the seating as they had us all separated, the boys sitting alone. Thankfully the other passengers were accommodating.
Once we landed in Iowa, we all stepped aside to rearrange the baggage. Somehow in those few moments, Cadrian followed the crowd of passengers leaving, instead of standing there with us. We looked up, and he was gone.
Kevin went on ahead to see if he had gone on, and I stayed behind in case he was there somewhere. This was the longest 10 minutes of my life. I asked a worker to page him. I asked another worker to help. I called his name. The crowded waiting room of people just seemed to stare at me.
I am standing in the middle of the gate's waiting area, and about to burst into tears. I loudly say, "MY SON IS LOST! I NEED SOME HELP!" Finally about 6 or 7 people get up to help me. I find some policemen and we keep checking bathrooms and doorways as we walk toward the main part of the airport.
Cadrian had made it all the way past security, alone. When Kevin caught up to him a few minutes later, he really hadn't even had a chance to get scared yet. He had tried to go back through the metal detectors, as soon as he realized we weren't with him, but they wouldn't let him! They wouldn't let Kevin go back through either.
I am on the other side, practically hysterical. Kevin has both the carry ons, so he has my phone. Luckily, he found another policeman so they could finally use their radios to let me know he was safe.
It feels like the trip ended on a sour note, but it didn't really. We had a delightful meal with an eclair for dessert. I ended up having to ride in the way back to stem the bickering, but even so, it was fine.
After the children got to bed, I just lay under my covers shivering and crying and letting all the emotions from the week and especially the day course through me.
And I slept well.