So here we are, all the way across the country. It’s the farthest my kids have ever traveled, and their only time change. They did really well. Even my three year old only moaned for maybe ten minutes about wanting to “det out” at 40,000 feet.
They made it through the first day, catching a few winks in the car and waking up fairly un-cranky, then going to sleep hours past their normal bedtime to get onto local time, enjoying exotic food beforehand. Of course, they’re not always like that, but suffice it to say, for this trip they really rallied.
And still it was hell.
I am not a comfortable flier. I do it rarely–since 9/11 even more rarely still–and this was my first trip with both my kids. When we ran (flew) into turbulence and it lasted the whole first HOUR of the trip and I couldn’t close my eyes and mentally scream, going to my happy place, my happy place, my happy place! and focus on an image of a tropical beach, teal water fizzing on the sand, but instead had to feed my son snacks and say to my daughter, Yes, that sure was a big bump, sweetie! I had a very, very hard time.
I could go on about other wrinkles with the flight, but basically the pilot flew us safely through, got us back onto the ground, for which I am inordinately grateful. I love Continental airlines. But I really h-n-d’d (my daughter’s spelling and our new family word for “hate” since in school they are taught not to say the word) this experience.
The whole thing raised so many questions in my mind. Like, who are we when we’re vulnerable as parents, two scared, tiny people on this vastly spinning planet, but to our children we must function as gods? How do we cope with fears–which arise in many other respects besides the mostly irrational and relatively rare experience of flying–when we are trying to teach our children to be joyous, confident beings? Can the two states, parent and person, ever be fully reconciled?
Happy and safe travels to us all–even if we’re just staying in one place.