OK, so today I gave my kid a little nudge toward growing up and then I immediately regretted it.
Emma has been dreaming of the day when she could go to Gramma and Grandad's all by herself. The two girls, Gramma and Emma, have been sharing phone calls, emails and letters, planning all the dinners out, manicures, shopping trips. Sounds so good, I'm ready for a trip to Gramma's by myself.
Since Emma chose not to attend camps this year, I thought we could splurge and let her fly on a plane one way to Dallas. Then, we could test out the idea of driving and child swapping in Waco for the return trip. I envision a revolving door of kids heading to Grandad/Gramma camp in the coming years and would like to make the transportation as painless as possible.
Emma was very excited about solo air travel, until today.
This morning I could sense the nervousness, she was stalling when it was time to leave. By the time we were at the airport, she had mentioned being nervous about 20 times. I kept saying it was normal to be nervous, and she would have so much fun with Gramma. Luckily, I cut our time as close as possible, I needed gas on the way out, made an unplanned detour due to road construction, argued about the security guard destroying my beloved Leatherman Junior keychain knife/scissors, and then bought some snacks. By the time we got back to the gate, they were early boarding the kids. A nice attendant, she was named Ray, came out and introduced herself to Emma. I gave my girl a flustered hug and kiss, and then another set, and another. I reminded her to listen to the mix CD I made for her when she got to her seat. And then she walked down the ramp to the plane. Without her Mama.
I was told when I bought the ticket that I would need to stay at the gate until the plane left. A great rule and totally unnecessary for me. I didn't want to budge. And all I could picture was my baby in that big old plane. Waiting about twenty minutes (since she boarded first) for all the other passengers to get on. Waiting for the fussing of the ground crew. Couldn't they hurry up? I saw Emma on board, scared, waiting by herself. Then I started crying. Wearing my sunglasses inside so no one could tell.
Finally, the plane backed up and I watched the tip of the tail as it almost got out of my sight around the next gate, then it turned, meandered around the runways, and finally, finally, finally took off. I sat at the window and watched the plane until it was a tiny speck. Then I went back to the car.
I kept checking my watch on the drive home, and by the time I pulled into the driveway, she was on the approach to Dallas. I got inside and she landed, I made Max a sandwitch and she called from Gramma's cell phone.
She had cried she said, a lady next to her helped her to stop crying. She doesn't want to fly alone until she is ten.
I'm thinking twenty.