Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Letting Go of the Edge

I got in an early 5 mile run before heading to the airport this morning. I almost traded in my run for some extra time on the couch with my coffee and the paper. Then, I reminded myself that I am responsible for me and I’m not going to make excuses or let myself off the hook. And, as is ALWAYS the case, I was glad I did it. Invigorated, energized.

I’m now waiting for my first born, Sam, to fly off across the country. Alone. Denver to D.C. to see my brother. The plane is still at the gate,  but they told me to hang out until it left. Hell, I might just stay here all day people watching. Airports never disappoint in that department. Plus, there is always someone pitching a hissy fit about something (what do you mean my German Shepard can’t fit under the seat?) and it makes for good entertainment.

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He’s on there somewhere

Sam may be 14 and fully capable of wiping his own ass, but he’s just a helpless child to me. Okay, that’s a  bit dramatic. He’s quite mature and all that, but I might be having just a little trouble letting go. I have to remember, you can’t get to the other side of the pool unless you let go of the edge. Whatever that means.

Yes there are those of you who will say, “What’s the big deal, my kids have been flying alone since they were fetuses,” but I am a virgin at this sending-your-kid-solo thing and I just need a moment. He asked if I would cry when he walked down the jet way. I stoically shrugged and laughed as I shook my head “no”.  When they called his name and took his boarding pass,  he hugged me and walked away, ready for his adventure. I hoped he wouldn’t turn around and see me standing there, eyes filling with tears. He did turn around to give me one last wave.  I don’t care if he thinks his mom is overly emotional. He already thinks I’m a dork for so many other reasons; we can just add this one to the list.

Here’s the thing. I know nothing will happen to him – I mean what’s he going to do at 35,000 feet except watch Pimp My Ride, make a pass at the flight attendant and drink a few too many Cokes? It’s more symbolic of him getting older and slowly edging away from home. This is exactly what he is supposed to be doing. In fact, I support his slow departure and despite my tears, I couldn’t be more proud of the young adult he is becoming.

And there he goes…

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At what age did you first fly alone? I never got on an airplane until I was 12. I didn’t fly alone until I was 20. For real.

Have you sent your kids on solo flights yet? This is my first time, but I’m sure there will be many more to come.

SUAR

45 comments:

  1. Our son has never flown alone, but I can very much relate to the whole growing up and letting go thing. It's really hard. I'm proud of you!

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  2. Sent the kid on a solo flight the other day when I kicked his ass across the living room......I AM JUST KIDDING DO NOT CALL THE POLICE OR THE PEOPLE THAT TAKE KIDS AWAY.....ALL JOKES PEOPLE!!!!!!

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  3. I went to France on a summer exchange trip when I was 16. I flew to Chicago (from Des Moines) by myself and slowly was surrounded by more and more teenagers as I flew from Chicago to NY and then from NY to Paris. And then the group got smaller and smaller until there were 5 of us on an overnight train to Toulouse. I was so tired when we arrived that I couldn't even remember how to say, "Bonjour." And of course, this was before cellphones and my parents just had to assume that I arrived OK. To add interest, my mom was also in France at the time, but in Normandy. So I guess in the case of an emergency, I was somewhat close to help... My kids are 10 and 8 and no solo trips yet. My 10 y.o. is mature but I'm not sure how she would handle things if something went wrong...

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  4. first time I flew alone...24 maybe..my kids are just 5 and 7 so not yet and I cannot imagine the day they will...well I can but I dont want to think about it. it will come, all my family is in Canada, my kids only cousins are all there...that day will come. I will be like you crying and proud. you did good Beth. I hope you had a good Christmas. I like that new picture on the right side..is it new? maybe I just never noticed it before anyway I like it!

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  5. 18. The day I graduated from high school I went to Cancun with a friend. (how my parents were ok with that i have no idea)

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  6. I didn't fly for the first time until I was 12, and when I found out we were flying I cried for days. I still hate flying to this day, but some Ativan and a few gin and tonics make it bearable. Granted, an Ativan and a few gin and tonics can make anything bearable.

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  7. My parents split up when I was a toddler and I used to go visit my dad alone starting at age 4 or 5. It was pretty awesome. I flew several times a year by myself.

    My oldest went to France when he was 10 on a field trip with his class. He wasn't alone since there were all of his classmates and his teacher, but it was still really tough walking away from the departures gate without him!

    Letting go can be so hard!

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  8. My 14 year old daughter is so good now that I just drop her at security. And on the way back, I pick her up on the curb. It was hard, but when I realized I would never have to pay more than $2 for parking, I was okay.

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  9. The first time I flew alone, was 2008 (I was 35!). I had only flown twice before that (when I was in high school- with the band).

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  10. Why is it that there are always so many pissed off people at the airport? Always bitching about something. I don't get it! I actually kind of enjoy the airport.

    I didn't get on my first airplane (at all) until I was 18 and it was to go skydiving, so I don't have much experience in that department.

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  11. You are a good mom Beth! Its so hard to let them go a little further each time. Will Sam be going on the DC trip in May? That will be the first time my son, Zach, will fly alone. He'll be 14 and the furthest away with no family with him. I dread it but know it has to happen. Little steps....

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  12. i fly so often now, i think i've lost a little of the shine on how dumb people are...now they are just dumb people :)

    I really don't think I flew by myself anywhere until I started working. before that it was with friends mostly my family didn't take many plane trips... I seem to be making up for that!

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  13. Uh, I didn't take my first flight until November of 2011--as in directly after my 28th birthday. In my defense, my mother is terrified of the idea of flying and refused to fly anywhere. I never had money to travel in college, so that's just how it went down. I'm glad Sam has an opportunity to venture out on his own a bit within the comfort of knowing his family will meet him at the gates on both sides of the trip. Good for you for supporting him!

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  14. I was 13 & my brother was 10 - we flew to the Philippines from Maryland by ourselves.

    Couldn't imagine letting my own two do that. Ever.

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  15. I'm 25 and I still haven't flown anywhere completely alone! If I can't fly with someone else, I'm perfectly comfortable driving by myself (as long as my GPS works). I just prefer driving over flying

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  16. I didn't fly until I was 19 and it was alone. I haven't sent any of my girls anywhere alone yet, I don't know when I would, the oldest is only 9 so I'm not ready. I would have been crying! But you're right about him being safe, there's not much trouble he can get into in an airplane!

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  17. I was like 23 and graduated from college before flying alone.

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  18. My eldest is only 8 years old and I've already decided ..... I'm never letting go!!!!!

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  19. well, i'm 34 and have never flown alone! scary! ;-)

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  20. I'd be right there with you all teary. My kids have not flown alone.
    My first flight ever was actually alone. I think I was 16.

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  21. My kids are only 9 and 12, so I only let them drive alone. Not yet ready for flying.

    Little known fact ... you can fit a German Shepard under the seat in front of you, but it generally does not go well for you or the dog.

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  22. I would feel the same way. My kids have never flown alone but they are only 9&11. I flew alone for he first time when I was 19 or 20. Nothing wrong with crying. He will do great!

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  23. My first ever plane flight was when I was 21!!! To Vegas! Then a year later I was jumping all over the world! Solo flights and some with friends! I made 3 cross Atlantic by myself and that was horrible... But venture on at least 50 oer the past 2 years alone just all over Europe! You can ask my mom and she will tell you that she hated every second of it!

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  24. How old are you in grade 4? We were flying standby. There was one seat on the first flight, and enough for the rest of the family on a flight a couple hours later. I was told to get off the plane in Vancouver, find out what gate the other flight was coming in at, and wait there. The world was a safer place then. Nobody batted an eyelid about a kid traveling alone.

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  25. aww, that would be hard!! I've flown since I was little. 1st plane ride i was a baby perhaps? I flew alone at age 10 or 12 I can't remember. My Mom would send me and my older bro to FL to see my g'parents. But we'd take turns going, so of course the flight attendant had to be in charge of us. I remember having to change flights once and the FA put me in a wheel chair to take me to the next gate. All i could think, was ppl thought I was disabled!! haa. oh man. Those were some good times

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  26. I was 14 the first time I flew by myself: Spokane,WA to Salt Lake City to Ontario, CA. Or it was *supposed* to be that way. I got to SLC and found that my connecting flight had been cancelled. I managed to arrange a flight to Los Angeles, CA (in first class!!) and somehow got word to my parents who were at the Ontario airport. It was a bit of a clusterf*ck, and of course in the days before cell phones. Fortunately, I was a pretty independent and resourceful kid who managed to make it work without freaking out.

    Not sure I will EVER let my children do that. EVER.

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  27. Well, I have never taken a flight alone. My first flight was when I was 20 and unfortunately it was to go bury my Grandfather.
    We have three children, 20, 17, and 14. We let our oldest go on a trip with his girlfriend his Senior year to visit her Aunt in Arizona, he was 17. I was a basket case!! Her mom was all chill and not worried whatsoever. Of course, she already had some experience in which she let her oldest take a road trip
    from Indiana to California!! Crazy!! I stayed until they took off, and cried. I made him call as soon as they
    landed and every other day they were away. And if he was late calling I started to worry...pacing, trying to be patient and positive..very hard.
    Don't think I will ever let my 17 year go off alone. She gets to wrapped up in her moments unaware of what's around her...ya nieve :/
    My 14 year old is wise beyond her years..but the jury is out, we will see what comes up ;)
    It's so hard to let go when you've focused your whole self on them...

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  28. I flew alone when I was 10-ish. And with my violin. Had to show grandma and grandpa just how awful I was.

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  29. I was out of college and married the first time I was on a commercial airplane (much less alone). It was probably 1996 when my sis moved to WI and I didn't want to drive to Milwaukee and it was pretty cheap to fly to Chicago. I would have been 23.

    But I can relate to the general idea of being sad as our kids take those tiny steps towards adulthood. My ten year old finally confessed yesterday to no longer believing in Santa. While I know I got more years out of him than most, I was sad. My baby lost one more piece of innocence.

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  30. I didn't fly until I was a grownup. My oldest didn't until he left for the Army. Glup! I feel for your nervousness.

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  31. I was 9 but instructed to say I was 12 if anyone asked. I'm not sure why. Im sure it was some highly illegal shit...

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  32. I flew alone in high school. My older boys flew with their dad (my ex-husband) and his mom, which was almost as scary as them being alone.

    I totally know how you felt watching him walk onto the plane, though, because that's how I felt as my oldest drove away the day he moved out. What, we don't all live together? You're your own person with your own life?

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  33. Flew alone for the first time at 36, terrified to face my biggest fear of flying and doing it alone! And, it was all the way to New Zealand, with connections and that long ass flight. But, other than the panic attack I had leaving DIA to fly across the world, it was the best thing I ever did for myself to conquer that fear and finally feel like a big girl in my mid 30's. Now I feel like I can do anything! And New Zealand was for sure worth the trip!

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  34. Awe man, that made me cringe. My Sam is going to turn 8 in a few weeks and 14 is just around the corner isn't it?! Ugh. Bittersweet. I'd be a total dork crying too! Good job letting go a bit.

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  35. i flew with friends at 22. my mom cried! when she picks me (i'm now 32) and my husband up or drops us off at the airport she is usually crying.

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  36. My middle son was 17 when he flew alone. Well, with a group of 12... to France. For a month. I sobbed for 1/2 hour and the TSA agent brought me tissues.

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  37. I sent my 13 year old daughter from Phoenix to Salt Lake last summer. A one hour flight and I was a MESS! I kept calling her to make sure she wasn't sitting next ot a dirty old man....I think I just hate the fact that she isn't 4 anymore...sigh...

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  38. I suppose I'm not a cryer. We lived in Alaska for ten years so flying to see family was an absolute. My kids were as young as 5 years old. I put them on, there were no layovers, the person on the other end picked them up. For them it was an exciting adventure. For me it was a great opportunity to show them I believed in them - even that young. "Most kids couldn't do this but you're so well behaved, such a good kid that I'm not worried about you at all". Of course I worried. But I liked building my relationship with my kids. Now as they're much older, they're strong, independent kids who aren't anxious or fearful. They know - you've got this.

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  39. I was 23 when I took my first flight. It was a huge place that flew from somewhere in Arkansas to Las Vegas. I thought I knew all there was about planes after that flight, so imagine my reaction when my next flight was a sardine can and we had to walk outside to get on the plane...huh?
    Those were the days when you could smoke on the plane..I always laugh when I think of that. and they had movies on every flight. (every flight I took)
    My youngest daughter was 14 when she flew alone. I had taken the same flight 2 weeks prior so I pretty much drew her a diagram of the airport when she would change flights. That was the scariest part for me (and her I think). I imagined her lost in the airport, and we know how big they are. We took the flight home together and I was much happier doing it that way.

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  40. I never flew until I was 19 and could pay for the trip myself, and my daughter didn't fly alone until she was an adult. Come to think of it, I'm not sure she has ever flown entirely alone! It's a good kind of hard seeing your kids grow up and become independent young adults, whether it's their first flight or when they get behind the wheel of a car for the first time.

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  41. My son just finished his 1st semenster of college (JMU!!!). He came home 3Xs and we visited once in 1 semester. I know he's fine. I know this is the natural progression of things... but, I still cry every time I leave him there. I miss him.

    My kids (ages 16 & 18) have not been on a plane alone or otherwise. I've only been on 3 planes in my life (never alone). I'm gonna work on this...

    Hope Sam has a great time!

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  42. 23 or 24 i forgot - i think my first trip was a business trip to Phoenix Arizona!

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  43. I am 40 and I still haven't flown alone. No joke. :)

    My son is 8...I can't fathom putting him on a plane alone. I can't imagine how hard it was for you to see Sam flying off! Brave Momma!!

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  44. I think I was 20 as well! Sounds tough.

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  45. I rode a plane by myself for the first time when I was 19, but I rode a bus cross-country for the first and only time when I was 18. Word to the wise: do not EVER put your kid on a bus cross country. Baaaad idea. Bad. Very bad.

    My mother decided after that *cough* life experience, that she would rather pay the extra $300 for me to ride a plane. Hence the plane ride back when I was 19. :-)

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