We were that family at the airport—the frantic mom and dad with a small child and far too much luggage that is running late, very late.
It was a Friday morning of a holiday weekend, and even at 7 am, the airport was thick with people.
Between me, my husband our 4-year-old son, we had two small roller bags, one larger suitcase, and a car seat. My husband precariously balanced the car seat on top of the large suitcase and somehow managed to move one other bag along as well. I pushed our son in a stroller with my right hand and dragged a suitcase behind me with my left. I also had a black, oversized “mom purse” slung over my right shoulder that was stuffed with miscellaneous items we had forgotten to pack.
After walking the entire length of the airport to get our boarding passes and check the car seat, we rushed to security and found ourselves at the end of a very long line. We had less than 30 minutes to make our flight. It did not look promising.
We finally made it through the line, shimmied out of our jackets and shoes, and hefted our suitcases and stroller onto the conveyor belt of the security scanner.
I went through security first, and then I heard the question every traveler dreads.
“Ma’am, is this your bag?” the TSA agent asked.
It was indeed my bag—the bulging mom purse—but I had no idea what I had in there that might be causing concern.
The TSA agent said, “Ma’am, I’m going to have to go in and further inspect your bag.”
“Fine,” I said impatiently, wondering how far it was to our gate.
The TSA agent slowly went through my bag and pulled out my wallet, my smartphone, an iPod, children’s-sized headphones, our plane tickets, a large pack of tissues, and then finally the offending item—a jar of homemade mandarin jam.