My fears for the last week centered around the five hour layover I faced in Dallas on Monday. Two year old in tow.
Five hours in an airport with a two-year-old?!? What will we do?
I researched the airport, all available play areas (DFW has at least TWO!), planned on riding the inter-terminal train until the novelty wore off, and letting Clara take her sweet time to eat a meal (which normally lasts at least an hour . . . endless frustration for me!).
Quite unfortunately, the airport itself helped me out considerably with our kill-time conundrum. In the past, I've always breezed through customs and immigration at DFW. On Monday, passing our bags through customs took around TWO HOURS. The line started at the baggage claims and then snaked its way through the entire baggage claim area. Thank goodness we had that layover!
Once we were finally free to wander the airport, we explored Terminal D and one of their huge, glass sculptures. Once Clara warmed up to it, she loved running through that labyrinth, giggling at me on opposite sides of the glass, screeching as I chased after her. My apologies to my fellow travelers in Terminal D. I don't usually let my daughter run amok in public, but as she was just screeching in glee, running off some steam, I figured better that she was loud in public rather than being loud on the airplane.
Later, we sat down with two other small children and their parents at the Children's Play Area in Terminal D, which quite unfortunately only had a bead chaser as the sole working toy. Not having one at home, it was a novelty for Clara, and she also thought rearranging the chairs and climbing on stuffed "pigs" was delightful, so it worked for her. It could be disappointing for a higher-energy child.
Our flight left from Terminal B, so we took the train over there (also a hit with the transportation-loving toddler). I would have liked to ride around the entire airport, but time was actually against us! While it's not listed on DFW's website, Terminal B also has a play area. However, we didn't get to check it out. I do know that somewhere in that airport they have toddler-sized climbing equipment, and I have a feeling that it's in that Terminal B. Too bad we didn't get there in time.
At our gate, I spied a man who looked disturblingly familiar. Because, yes--it was my childhood best friend's father! Clara needed to walk off some steam down the hall (and I needed to decide if that man was REALLY my friend's father . . . yes, it was. We wound up sitting right behind him on the airplane). As Clara and I headed down the hall, I spied another friend's mother arriving at the gate. No way. Two people I knew on my flight?!?
Oh, the beauty of being from a small city.
As Clara and I were the last to get off the plane, my parents were able to greet both friends' parents before they met me, AND they saw another friend's dad get off my flight, too! Dear heavens!
While part of me feels like I really do belong in Saltillo now, it's clear that part of me will always belong here.