I’ve whined blogged about it before.
I’m a little disconcerted by the fact that my eldest, my precious baby girl, is growing up so quickly. I mean – HELLO! – she was in diapers the other day! A year from now, however, she will be sorting through her things and packing for her move to college. Probably a college on the East Coast. Yes. We live in Oregon.
No. I’m not handling it well.
Have I mentioned I adore this child?
I fell in love with her the first time I met her. She was just a year old – and she did “monster baby” (it’s a long story) and I couldn’t help but love her.
When Jess was 2 our baby Elizabeth died after being born at 23 weeks gestation, and living only a short 4 minutes – we got to hold her while she breathed her few earthly breaths. I was in the hospital weeping – completely, utterly heartbroken – and in ran Jessica – a ray of purest sunshine – who ran into my arms and exclaimed, “Mommy! I missed you so much! I love you!” I knew then I’d be okay.
When I think about Jess I get emotions that lead me to think thoughts like, “Lord, how can you have blessed me so with such an amazing child? Please Lord! Help us to raise her to be a woman of Godly character!”
She is beautiful.
She is kind.
She is sweet.
She is thoughtful.
She’s incredibly intelligent.
She has great plans for the future.
She’s a wonderful friend.
She’s a little bit ditzy sometimes.
She leaves a disaster area in her wake!
She loves the things of God.
She’s way more responsible than I ever thought of being at her age – well, or way past her age!
She’s got a wonderful sense of humor.
And she can get lost going from her bedroom to the bathroom, right next door.
Yes, my girl is seriously directionally challenged.
Jessica’s grandparents live in West Virginia. Occasionally she is given the gift of a trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa. This is one of those years.
I should interject here that Jess HATES (as in vehemently) to fly.
She also hates geese. Because they bite, and hiss, and chase you, and… You’ll have to ask her about geese some day. I’ll stand to the side and smile and laugh. She’s so funny!
She hates bats. Big time. Like a lot. You’ve never really heard her scream until you’ve seen her encounter a bat. Have I mentioned we sometimes get bats in our house? Not pretty.
She hates tacos, too. I think that’s mostly because Jonathan and William would be happiest in life if we served pizza and tacos on alternating nights – like ALWAYS.
And while she hates to fly, she’s had to quite a lot this year. Each time prior to this trip that began this morning, she’s been able to fly with someone.
Have I mentioned she hates to fly?
That she ABHORS flying alone?
That she’s directionally challenged?
And… well… a teensy bit distractible sometimes.
(With the sun coming up behind us as we wait for Jess’s plane to board this morning. Yes, we’re totally toasted. We got about three hours sleep between the two of us!)
So – being the paranoid concerned Mom that I am – I voiced my concerns about Jessica traveling solo to the family member who gifts her with the trips. Grandma echoed those concerns to said family member. Jess was encouraged to buck up and grow up. So we were out voted.
The past four days Jess and I have been talking through potential role play scenarios while traveling solo. We’ve been talking about how to look unapproachable. (You gotta admit – she’s too stinking cute! She needs to work on this one!) We’ve been talking about how and when to call for assistance – and what assistance is appropriate when.
Basically, been doing a big old huge crash refresher course on everything we’ve taught her thus far.
So – I got her on the plane this morning. I waited until it taxied and took off – texting with her until the very last moment – telling her that I love her, will be praying for her, and will miss her. As soon as the plane touched down in Atlanta and she was cleared to use her cell phone she called to tell me she was there. We talked through what she was to do. Contact the airline representative when she deplaned; tell them she’s traveling solo, that she needs to know where she’s to get her connecting flight. She sounded a little calmer when she hung up. I was nervous – she had to change terminals! In Atlanta!
Not too much longer I got a text from her that she had changed terminals successfully. Woo Hoo!
Moments later, she’d found the gate that she’d been directed to (and was printed on her boarding pass). She was told by what time to be back at the gate for boarding – in case she needed to use the facilities, get a snack, etc.
She did GREAT!
In fact, she texted a little while later and said, “You know, I really am feeling a lot better about this flying alone thing!”
Moments after when her plane was to have departed I answered my phone to my baby crying saying, “Mom, I think I missed my plane!”
OH! MY! WORD!
What happened? Well, someone, somewhere, decided to change gates on her – and well, changing gates wasn’t something she’d figured could happen – didn’t have the experience to think to investigate. And so time went by – no one came to the gate she’d been directed to – and she suddenly panicked, realizing that she was in the wrong place. That’s when she called.
So – I talked her through finding a ticketing agent, telling them the pertinent information, and then getting the info about her flight options. Between sniffles she was able to pull herself together and get her ticket rebooked, attempt to call her Grandparents (who don’t often turn on their cell phone and were already on the road to pick her up), call her Uncle, who in turn called to leave a message for her Grandparents at the airport she’d be landing in in West Virginia.
You know what? She did okay.
She was pretty shaken up, though.
She wasn’t the only one.
So… the moral to today’s story?
I was right! So there! Pffftttt! (Yes, that’s me sticking my tongue out and razzing!)
I guess she is growing up.
Maybe she will be okay moving far, far, far away.
I’m still going to investigate real estate in close proximity to the college she chooses.
And I’m still gonna miss her!