Yesterday I sent my only son on his first solo domestic flight. If you have never had this experience before, allow me to share so you will be prepared. We had to book Chase’s flight through United. We are normally Delta people, but Dulles to Portland, Maine, this was pretty much it. It costs an additional $99 ONE-WAY to have an escort for your child. The day before camp opening, Camp Kieve emailed me and provided the name, address, cell phone for the pick-up person in Portland, Maine. I then contacted United to provide them with the information. The airlines need to have pick-up person’s driver’s license information exactly as it is written or else they will not hand off your child. I was instructed to be at the ticket counter by 11:15am and the escort would be waiting for us. I was feeling very melancholy that morning and decided to skip my morning workout to spend as much time with Chase as possible, plus I promised myself I wouldn’t use my “angry voice” all morning so we could all leave on a happy note. We also took a lot of pictures so we could see if chase grows any while he is away.
Mary lives very close to the airport, and we wanted to get there a little early. A selfish (and probably overly confident) side of me is thinking, “Drop off at 11:15am, I can make boxing at 12:00.” So I dress to go exercise after the drop off, which means, spandex and my boobs hanging out. My dad waits in the car by the curb. I get to the “unaccompanied minors” line and although there is only 1 person in front of us, I swear it took them 40 minutes to get their shit straight. I ended up getting frustrated and short with the counter woman. I said, “You need to tell people to show up 2 hours in advance if things are going to be this inefficient.” Then she had the audacity to say back to me, “Mam, you cannot just leave your child at the airport.” At this point I was now frustrated & offended at her implication and I said back to her, “I don’t care how other people raise their children. That was not ever my intention!” They had also somehow mixed up the contact person with the drop off person so we had to straighten that out. After Chase was finally issued a ticket and paper bracelet (identifying him as unaccompanied minor), she handed me a ticket. “What’s this?” To which she replies, “You need to take your son to the gate.” WTF? I asked her, “So let me get this straight. I paid for an escort for my son, but that person is only taking him from the gate to his seat and from the seat to the gate?” “Yes.” FYI people. You are welcome.
Now I am thinking about my poor dad who has been doing laps around the airport for almost an hour and will be doing more laps before I can get back to him. My noon workout is not going to happen anymore and I am now going with the flow. Chase and I make it to the gate 10 minutes before departure at 12:15pm. Most of the passengers are on the plane so I have a chance to say good-bye. I give him my strongest hug at the counter and evidently it was lasting too long for him because he kept trying to squirm away from me. Don’t worry mom-readers. I held on tight, to the point where we actually looked like we were having a wrestling match. I’m glad I identified myself as his mom first, because I probably would have been arrested for attempted kidnapping. Chase of course was mortified that people were watching, but not smart enough to realize if he would just quit fighting me, we would look a lot more normal. At one point, I actually said, “Chase! Please honey, let me go!!!” while he was struggling. I admit, I was surprised at my own strength, because Chase now outweighs me and is almost my same height and I managed to hang on to him using 1 arm. Just goes to show, a mother’s power is crazy strong when she wants something badly enough.
By the time I was able to reunite with my father, it was almost exactly 2 hours later! When we got home, we had a little lunch and dad went to play 9 holes and I felt the depression hit me. I went upstairs to take a nap. I know going to this camp is going to be so great for Chase in so many ways, but so many things have happened in the last year that have made me realize how sensitive and fragile my little man truly is. I woke up a couple hours later and ended up making the 5:15 boxing class. Just needed to hit something.
Until next time…