Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Give Them Wings, So They Can Fly

Lauren flew on an airplane recently to visit her best friend. She has flown before with the hubby and/or I several times, but she has never flown completely by herself.  Her very first plane trip was to Iowa to visit some of my friends just before she turned two.

This most recent trip comes ten months before she turns 18.  The best deal I could find for her was a non-stop flight that required us to wake up at 3:00 a.m. and get to the airport by about 5:00 a.m. When I booked the flight, given that she is now 17, meant that she could fly alone without paying an additional fee to have someone "escort" her to and from the departing and arriving airports.  I thought that I would be able to go all the way to the gate with her.  I asked two people at security about it and they told me to go back to the airline counter and get a gate "pass."  I was told I had to wait in a huge line, which I did for about 30-40 minutes.  Since Lauren had already gone through security, she was waiting for me at the gate and sent me several texts asking when I would join her.  I kept texting back that I was still in a very long line.  When I did finally make it to the counter, they flat out refused to issue me a gate pass.  I tried to explain that my daughter was already at the gate waiting for me and I hadn't even gotten a chance to hug her goodbye!  I was kind of bummed, but didn't want to create a scene. I had already witnessed a man get verbally abusive and two security guards coming to talk to him.  Guess I wasn't the only one upset with the airline!!  At least I had a little bit of entertainment while I waited in the long line.  Since I couldn't join Lauren,  I called her and told her what was going on.  The only way I would have been able to hug and kiss her goodbye would be for her to come back out of the security area, but then she would have to go back through again.  It was getting too close to when her flight was going to leave and I didn't want her to chance missing her plane.  Plus, the hubby was back at home waiting for me to come back so he could go to work (Dominic was sleeping).  It was difficult for me, given that I could see her on the other side of the security area, but I wasn't able to give her a hug and kiss goodbye.  She said she was okay with it all, so I had to be too :)  Lauren has been so excited to travel to see her friend and I didn't want what happened with me trying to get my "pass" to put a damper on her trip.  I called her when I was heading back home and told her to text me when the flight left. Her plane eventually left (an hour and a half late) and she made it safely to her destination.  I would have never let her go on that very first plane ride by herself, but I had absolutely no hesitation in letting her do it now.  Lauren and I have a super close relationship (which I treasure), but we are also independent of each other. It's a fine line of how much to "micro-manage" your teen as they head towards adulthood.   I have a tendency to want to help Lauren more than she needs to be helped.  Recently, more often than not, she has told me in a nice way to let her handle things more.  Lauren is starting her senior year in a few short weeks.  It will be a year of changes and transitions. She is planning on going to college, but wants to live at least one hour from us.   This time next year Lauren will be preparing to leave our "nest."  I'm confident that we have given her the "wings," so she can fly! 

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