Janet Hommel Mangas: From young and capable to grumpy ole woman

Well, I’m afraid to admit it, but it’s happened.

I realize this may totally affect my column readership — but it’s time to come clean.

For the second weekend in a row, I flew back to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Of course, this past weekend I didn’t see a nary one of those lakes because I was sitting inside a hotel conference room “aye”-ing and “nay”-ing during an American Hosta Society board meeting. The two-day board meeting went smoothly, and was actually delightful as my fellow board member, Tammy B., and I actually woke up at 6 a.m. and talked for three hours as we readied ourselves for the 9 a.m. Saturday meeting.

During the board meeting lunch break, I dutifully checked in online for my flight home and virtually filed my boarding pass in my online phone wallet. I’m usually old-school and like to carry a paper airline boarding pass just in case my phone battery dies, or I accidentally drop my phone in to one of the 10,000 Minnesota lakes — but I was adulting.

In fact, I texted the family that I virtually signed in and was NOT carrying a printed paper boarding ticket to which they responded:

Steve: “Whoa. A sign of the second coming.”

Chloe: “Wow, good job Mom!”

Aly: “Good Job Mom! — The World is your oyster!”

Chloe added: “What a millennial!”

I had my boarding pass.

I even had plenty of time to get a sit-down dinner before boarding began.

All was well.

When the airline clerk called my name a few minutes before boarding, to move me up two rows if I would serve as an emergency exit door ambassador, I accepted. I may have strutted back to my airport seat in front of all the 30- and 40-somethings also waiting to board as I was sure they also saw me as 1) physically capable, 2) willing to perform emergency actions when seated in emergency or exit rows and 3) older than 14 years old.

When seated, I took my role quite seriously and studied how to remove the planes emergency door from the pictured, just in case we ran into trouble on the 90-minute flight home:

1. Lift up red hinge

2. Lift up latch

3. Remove door

4. Throw it out of the way

I was resolute and had decided that I would remain calm and have a smile and steady voice if I need to help my fellow passengers out of the plane.

Remember, I was fed, rested and I had a purpose in life — joyful.

Until, the young parents of an approximately 4-year-old and 10-month-old sat directly behind me. First, I must say I absolutely love children. I have been called a “baby whisperer” who can calm a baby and put them to sleep with my self-patented “pat-pat-pat, rub-rub-rub” technique.

I have actually asked and was granted permission to hold and soothe a small baby on a plane to give the mom a break on a transatlantic flight.

I learned from my mom and grandmother how to pump a babies legs to soothe a tummy ache. I learned from my dad how to entertain a child through quiet stories and simple play.

I learned from my husband how to always have gum to chew, pull a child’s earlobes, or say a wide “aww” to relieve ear pressure.

We always traveled with books, games and extra snacks for our kids.

So when I heard the Mom say at 7 p.m.: “I know you’re hungry and tired — we’re just going to have to deal with it” to her 4-year-old sitting directly behind me, I knew this might be a bumpy flight.

After putting in earphones to help block the incessant screaming from the 10-month-old, and unable to stop the 4-year-old from soccer kicking the back of my seat unless he was smacking it with what seemed to be a metal hammer, I reminded myself this was just a short flight. I began paraphrasing Bible verses: “I can bear all screaming and kicking things who strengthens me.”

And well, I’m afraid it may have happened — I may have turned into a grumpy ole lady.

Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to [email protected]