I was five-years-old, dressed up in a pink and white knock-off of Little Orphan Annie’s red and white dress. I had a Dorothy Hamill haircut – the first of the many hair-related
tragedies character-building opportunities in my life – and I was locked and loaded, ready to take my first-ever flight to Miami, Florida on an airplane.
I was with my Mom.
She took a picture of me in the airport.
I felt pretty special because those were the days when you bought actual film. You had one opportunity to get the right shot. There was no such thing as photoshop, or red-eye correction. We didn’t hold down the photo button on our cell phones and take like 65 versions of the same shot. We pointed, shot and prayed that our finger wasn’t in front of the lens. (Who remembers?) When I grew up photos were saved for special occasions like posing with your cabbage patch kids on Christmas morning, your first communion, or your cousin’s wedding.
We boarded the flight and I remember that the airplane seats were upholstered in a red-ish, brown-ish flower print — nothing like the interior on the Barbie plane that I had circled in the JC Penny catalog.
My Mom took a second picture of me on the plane. My flying partner and I — my pleather E.T. doll – smiled and sat on my lap.
She gave me a stick of gum… and then off we went. I can still remember the feeling inside my stomach as the airplane slowly ascended into the clouds:
A little bit of nervousness.
A little fear of the unknown.
A little bit of discomfort.
A little bit of feeling like this was way bigger than me.
…my mom was there.
Sitting next to me.
Holding my hand.
Keeping me safe.
Reminding me that in the end, everything was going to be fine; that everything is handle-able.
Sometimes we go through discomfort to get to the good parts.
Sometimes we have to take our first airplane ride, and feel the feelings, to get to the destination.
During this 2019 summer, I will have taken 10 flights.
Two of which were with the girls, sans Craig.
Six of which have been, and will be, without my girls. Just Craig and I.
Flying without all of my people sitting next to me is uncomfortable.
I was reminded that this is how I felt when I was five. On that plane. With my Mom.
It makes me a little nervous. I feel a little bit of fear of the unknown. A little bit of discomfort. A little bit of feeling like this thing – this plane – is way bigger than me.
…yet another reminder that life is out of *my* control.
When we’re all on a flight, I feel better.
If something happens, well… we’re together.
Does your brain go there, too?
[By the way, I never sit in the emergency exit seats on a plane. I cannot, and will not be the person you need to open the door in case of a water landing. I have a hard time getting out of the backseat of a car when the child lock isn’t even on.]
When the plane goes up into the air all un-steady like, I breathe deep.
When the plane weebles and wobbles, I breathe deep.
When the eager-beaver pilot comes in a little hot on the runway, I breathe deep.
On a recent flight, I told Craig that I felt that the plane was too loud. Craig was like, “…um… I think it’s fine.”
Ya’ll, life is a plane ride and we aren’t driving/ we aren’t piloting.
We breathe in, we breathe out and we throw our hands up, toss our heads back, close our eyes and breathe deep.
And some of us may pretend like our Mom is sitting right there next to us.
Holding our hand.
Reminding us that in the end, everything is going to be fine.
Everything is handle-able.
Sometimes we go through discomfort to get to the good stuff.
Everything is going to be ok.