78: A Birthday Blessing

78: A Birthday Blessing

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

A Birthday Blessing

Life is funny… we never know what’s in store for us, and time brings on what is meant to be.

~April Mae Monterrosa

I hadn’t missed a single one of my grandchildren’s birthday parties. There had been twenty-three of them so far. Catey was eight; Colin, seven; Landon, five; and Blake, three. Now my streak was going to end, because Landon was not having a sixth birthday party. My son and daughter-in-law had instead planned a Disney cruise that was scheduled to leave three days after his birthday.

Landon lived only five hours away in northern Kentucky, however, so it seemed strange that I wouldn’t be able to at least see him on his birthday. Nevertheless, I decided to escape the February cold of West Virginia and spend four days with my brother and sister-in-law at their timeshare in Orlando. My return flight would be on Thursday, Landon’s actual birthday. I had texted my son and daughter-in-law that I would call him on his birthday sometime between the end of school and his eight o’clock bedtime.

As I was waiting for my flight in Orlando, the weather app on my phone had indicated it would be windy around the time the plane was scheduled to land. I didn’t pay much attention to that, and anyway, the flight took off pretty much on time.

As we approached the airport, however, it seemed like it was taking too long to land. Something was not right. Finally, the pilot came on the speakers and told us it was too windy. He reassured us by saying there was plenty of fuel so we were going to circle the airport until the wind subsided. The only thing on my to-do list that evening was that phone call, and I had hours before Landon’s bedtime, so it didn’t really matter to me.

As we continued to circle, though, I started to feel a little uneasy. I wondered why we didn’t divert to the airport thirty minutes north. A fellow passenger stated that the runway there was too short. I knew the wind to the northeast was also a problem that afternoon, so Pittsburgh was not going to be an alternative. The pilot eventually came on again and told us we were going to divert west to Cincinnati. That was ironic. My son and his family lived fifteen minutes away from that airport.

We were going there to refuel and would then return to West Virginia when the winds died down. This would work. I just needed enough time to turn on my phone while the plane was being refueled so I could say “Happy Birthday” to Landon and let him know I hadn’t forgotten. Then they changed the plan. They had us deplane and wait for further instructions. That was even better news for me. I could go inside the terminal, make my phone call in privacy, and then have a relaxing dinner before re-boarding the plane.

There was no answer to my call, however, on either my son or daughter-in-law’s phone. I thought they might have taken Landon out for a birthday dinner. I left a detailed message. Then I got an alert on my phone that my plane had been rescheduled for 9:00 the following morning. I made another call to both phones with this change of plans. There was still no answer. Meanwhile, the airline was booking rooms for the stranded passengers at local hotels. Before I had finished my dinner, my daughter-in-law called me back, laughing at this turn of events and inviting me to spend the night with them instead of at a hotel.

Chris and the boys came to pick me up at baggage claim. I went home with them and watched Landon blow out the candles on his cake and open his cards and presents. I hadn’t missed his birthday after all! It was such a blessing.

There may have been other airports where we could have refueled, but God was my pilot that day. He had a different flight plan in mind, taking that plane to the airport where at least one passenger preferred to be.

~Susan Hunter

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