Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Leaving on a jet plane.

Airports make me cry.

This morning I put Ms 11 (& 11/12s) on a plane without me! A simple one hour flight to Sydney, where she will be met by her grandparents, who will take her to the Opera House where she is playing recorder tonight in a public schools concert. (Pretty exciting stuff!) They'll take her there for for the rehearsal at 12.00 (after making sure she is fed and watered), meet her again at 3.00, entertain her for a few hours, buy her food, then take her back again for the concert at 6.15. (Which of course they'll watch.) A night train trip back to their place to stay the night. A sleep in, and then the trip to the airport to come home. She'll be spoilt like nothing else - one on one attention from Grandma doesn't happen much when you live 600km away, and normally share the grandparents' attention with two sisters (and two cousins who live nearby.)

I'm feeling just a twinge of regret that I won't be sharing in the whole experience - concert plus plane trip. At the time I had to organise for her to get there, I had no idea whether Marc would be home, so there was the mere matter of two other children to be looking after at home. Also at some point I had to weigh up the expense of 2 plane fares, particularly with the amount of money we are spending on both her and the eldest with their big rep netball comp coming up.

I had booked her as an unaccompanied minor, signing my life away, with passwords and forms in quadruplicate to fill in at either end. But when we asked for a seat allocation with a schoolmate and her mother who it turned out were going on the same flight, they waived the whole 'unaccompanied minor' palava, and she strolled nonchalantly across the tarmac and on to the plane with them as if she did this sort of thing every other week! (Much like the way her Dad tends to behave with his overseas trips - leaving me to be the emotional wreck.)

And so I got all teared up as I watched her plane take off.

[I'm ok now, it didn't last long.. I was in contact with Mum a mere hour and a bit later; the plane got there of course: "special package received in good order and now in safe hands".]

For as long as I can remember airports have given me goosebumps.. Leaving yourself, or farewelling someone - I guess it's all tied up with the emotions of being apart from loved ones... and also some minor itsy bitsy teeny wheeny fear of flying thing. Probably flying out myself at age 17 for a year as an exchange student in Indonesia has embedded itself emotionally in my subconcious, as have the many times I've farewelled my husband on overseas work trips over the past 10 years. (The one where he went for 3 months has undoubtably scarred me for life! - my how I blubbered at the airport ... No Stoic Mum for the sake of the children that day...)

There was also another flight I took just about 10 years ago when I left my then 4 and 2 year olds with their grandparents, while Marc continued to work on our house, and I flew from Sydney to here (for a week) to start looking for rental properties, as we were about to move here. I have never felt so fragile and vulnerable as we took off. I'd just lost a baby halfway during a pregnancy, and that experience had made me realise that 'shit' can happen to anybody - even me! I was sure the plane was going to crash on take off or landing; the indentation of my fingers is probably still in the armrest, and I felt so alone without my babies or my husband.

So! Back to the airport tomorrow afternoon to pick her up! I think, given the short duration, that I will be less teary when I'm on the receiving end of my precious cargo. Though you never know. Airports just have this tendency to make me cry.

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I can't believe how big they're getting. That would make me teary too
So sad for you but she'll probably have a ball and will look back on her trip as one big adventure! *sigh* Didn't we all at that age?! And good on the grandparents - they'll probably love having the quality time together so they can dote on her!
It's more the airport and the plane thing than the night without her! LOL. (I'm usually one of the few mums going 'whoopee' when they head off on an overnight school excursion!) Actually looking forward to a more peaceful night.. one less child in the mix makes such a difference!
Hope she has a good time
Wow what an experience for her. (And for you!)
Why do some people handle flying so well anyway? I find the whole event a drudge- endless hallways in the airport, cramped waiting on the runway, the nervous take-off. Yet the husbands take their business trips like no one has ever heard of a crash. How???
Airports make me cry too. [but for different reasons]
Best wishes
Great post. I also hope she has a good time. I know what you mean about airports. There is so much anticipation in the whole lead up, and every one rushes around amidst a glut of emotions buzzing in the departure louge and melding into one, and then suddenly everyone leaves and there is this strange kind of emptiness within - you still feel that person is there; the energy still whirring, but suddenly their presence is now absent.
The old Adealide airport would allow you to stand at the window and watch your loved one walk across the tarmac and climb the stairs to the plane. Ashley would always stop at the top and wave in our general direction, though he coudln't see us, so I would stay till that long at least,and then have a very lonely walk back to the car.
Coffs airport is still small enough to have the big window looking straight out onto the tarmac. So you see them walk out.. and also you watch in anticipation of the first sight of them coming out of the plane and down the stairs.

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