Warning: Long and picture heavy ;)
So strange. I’ve done it a million times and loved it each and every time.
Never been afraid.
This time was different.
Naturally it was pretty chaotic, not as bad as I had expected, but a little hairy nonetheless. However, that wasn’t the part that was so alarming. I planned for that.
Everyone had their own backpack, each packed with favorite toys, a freezer bag filled with favorite snacks, water bottles and special blankets. Everyone was wearing easy slip on shoes to make the security check a little more smooth and I had carefully planed how I’d be herding my three small children, four carry-ons, two strollers and a car seat through the airports on my own.
People seemed extra friendly, the kids were extra cooperative and I was saying a few extra prayers. Smooth sailing.
We breezed through our check in, security check, and boarding.
Heading straight to the back and getting settled, we lucked out with ONE extra seat on the first flight so that Baby didn’t have to sit on my lap.
As we all buckled in and put our bags under our seats, I answered all the questions my little children’s curious minds could muster.
What is this airplane called?
Why are the wings shaped like that?
What’s that sound?
Where’s the engine?
What does the pilot do?
What are those lights for?
Where’s the potty?
How does it stay in the air?
Why is the airplane in this little book swimming?
(uhh...not sure dear, we’ll think about that later)
The questions went on and on and I found myself really appreciating growing up with a father who worked in aerospace and had taught my sister and I quite a lot.
(This video is of Daughter and Son during our second take-off. The first time they were completely silent and staring out the windows with their mouths open. This time they were quite giddy)
During the taxi down the runway, the excitement in my children’s eyes was amazing.
They were filled with anticipation.
As we started down the runway going faster and faster and then finally
pointing the nose of our 737 upward and lifting up off the ground,
their awe and wonder was incredible.
I loved every second of it.
And then as I took my eyes off their cute little faces,
and looked out my own window, that feeling hit.
The one I hadn’t expected.
I became incredibly nervous.
It was a smooth takeoff and I still found myself gripping the armrests.
Then we hit just a few bumps as we climbed to our cruising altitude,
one that got to my stomach just a bit.
You know that feeling when you hit a little drop on a roller coaster?
It was like that.
And in that instant, my stomach sank, my heart started pounding,
I felt hot tears stinging my eyelids and I couldn’t help but feel a little panic.
I looked at all my kids quickly, so trusting and confident.
They weren’t nervous or afraid.
And before this moment, I had never felt that way about flying either.
But right then, all I could think was how I was responsible for these three little lives and how helpless I really was way up here.
I couldn’t truly protect them.
And with those concerns, how could I keep my worries at bay?
I softly sang to myself “It is well,” knowing that we were all in my Maker’s hands
and there was no safer place to be.
But the feeling was so unexpected, unanticipated and overwhelming.
How much having children affects every aspect of your life is amazing.
I wondered why I hadn’t been warned about this and then thought I must be the only mother in the world to feel this panic, not over flying, for that I loved.
But rather the panic of flying with children and the fear of the haunting
“what if’s” that kept ringing in my ears.
Then I thought that perhaps I’m not the only parent who has experienced this, but how exactly can you communicate these irrational thoughts and worries to someone who is not expecting them at all? Or someone who has not experienced them yet?
We continued on our journey, flying through the sky, reaching for the heavens and floating above the clouds. Daughter, Son and Baby loved it, every moment of it. Daughter and Son were so well behaved and raked in the compliments from many of the other passengers aboard our flight.
Baby gave the woman in front of him a complimentary in-flight massage for about forty-five minutes, which she so kindly pretended to enjoy.
I only had to threaten the kids with the air Marshall a handful of times and I only bribed them with chocolate twice. Well, maybe three times, but who’s counting? ;)
The pilots showed the kids all the controls, let them help program the route coordinates for the next flight (I hope they got where they thought they were headed)
and kindly took extra time to answer all their questions.
We were so blessed with such gracious people around us, so many lending helping hands and encouraging words. I couldn’t believe how good God was, going before and paving the way for our trip. We arrived safe and sound, though a little tired and really sick of sitting still, in Oklahoma, greeted by Poppa and Grandma-mother’s welcoming arms and bright smiles.
We drove to their house, ran in a million circles excitedly, barely ate a bite of dinner and quickly crashed into our pillows that night. Our first day was a fabulous start to rest of the trip. And once again, I learned that I had and felt a new love, a different love for my children, one I hadn’t felt before. One that prompted such a fear, I could never forget it.