Despite my tendencies toward deep paranoia, I sent my 7-year-old on a plane
to visit his grandma.
I mean, shoot, my mom put me on a plane when I was 6. I was
in charge of my 3-year-old brother. (Guys, please, we were in matching white hand-smocked
outfits. We were totally fine.) I remember sitting next to a cartoonist. He drew photos for
us, and we flew from Colorado to Arizona.
Living in Los Angeles, my kids are not given many
opportunities to have independent moments. I want to give them more, but we live
in the hit-and-run capital of the U.S. Car crashes are the No, 1 cause of death
He flew Southwest, where I was charged an extra $50 or
something for the unaccompanied minor part. They let me walk him
through security, to his gate, which was pretty fun and a lot like the good ol' days.
I thought about the airport bar for a second.
He was given a card that went into a plastic holder that
went around his neck, and then we just waited to start boarding. It was a
short flight, and he wasn't nervous. When it was time for us to separate, I kissed
and hugged him and a flight attendant walked him onto the plane.
The plane sat for a few minutes. Finally, it backed away from the gate and began to taxi.
I watched him from the window, and I admit I thought I might
get diarrhea. I had to wait until the plane was in the air before I let myself leave. I admit I had to take some deep breaths and took a
I thought about the airport bar for a second. Stay strong.
I watched the plane turn and take off, wheels up, all 55
pounds of him lifted into the air. I'm pretty sure I cried. I know I started running
but not so much that others noticed. Why, I don't know.
We all laughed, and then I remembered the most dangerous part of your flight is the drive home ...
I called my husband saying I felt a little uneasy. My
husband, always the calming force, reassured me. I drove
back to my house from LAX. It took 50 minutes. By the time I arrived, my mom had
"We got him!" she said.
My son got on the phone and told me he was fine.
"I ordered a Diet Coke," he admitted.
What? That's got caffeine. Also, how strange he picked diet.
We all laughed, and then I remembered the most dangerous part
of your flight is the drive home, and I told my mom to drive him home safely.