Sunday, February 22, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
While making our way through Seattle's busy Saturday morning airport traffic, I spied the enormous line at the ticket counter. We were stopped by a Southwest agent. "Who will be traveling today?" "She will", I replied. Looking at A, I could tell it was sinking in. She would be taking her first trip by herself. Instead of the ease of a trip with your parents, where they make all of the decisions about how to navigate through the cramped security lines, how much time you have before you are herded onto the airplane like cattle and where to sit, store your bags, etc., she would be the one deciding those things for herself.
There are thousands of children around the world who travel like this every day. I know that, but it is very different when it's your own child having that experience. You question yourself as a parent. Is it too soon for her to be flying on her own? She had to find her way through the terminal at the other end by herself. Was that too much responsibility to put on a 12 year old? Yes, she's smart and mature for her age, but she has her father's sense of direction (lack of one.) Sorry Stucco! :)
She made it just fine. I knew she would. I'm thankful she did. As I sigh with relief, a small part of me feels sadness. Parenting, if you do your job correctly, is about letting your children have experiences, without you, that push them to the edge of their "comfort zone." Fear of the unknown, and finding her own way through that crowd of strangers, seeing all the changes that have happened where she used to live, seeing old friends, sharing about her life now, all of these things are for her. They will make her memories. She will share them with me when she comes home. In her own time. In her own way.
As I look back on this, what will stand out in my mind will be the part where I noticed she was her holding her chin up as we walked into the airport. Instead of playfully swinging her bag and twirling around on her toes, she was carefully reading the signs and watching the clocks. She checked the departure board and found her gate number.
She was ready.