Is it me or is it the airport?
“Text me when you get through security!” I yelled to each of my kids recently as we were dropping them off. “And when you get on the plane!”
My “kids” are fully functioning adults. He has been flying solo for 10 years all over the world, the oldest being Australia, Southeast Asia and Europe. She flies across the country on an economy airline, her class in business, and two cats.
The two older guys have successfully managed business trips without my supervision. They took his Ubered and Lyfted and even his old-fashioned cab. They have passports and Apple Pay and common sense.
Yet, whenever they return home, I feel obliged to micromanage their travel plans.
“Have you confirmed that your flight departs on time?”
“Have you seen the weather in the Midwest?”
“Do you know what kind of plane you’re on this time?”
This is despite the fact that I don’t know propeller plane 747s.
Two weeks ago, our college-aged baby flew alone to New York City with a high-anxiety alert for his mother. She’s been there before but she’s never been without an adult I see a lost girl wandering around Laguardia sobbing and unable to find anyone to help I had a vision.
she is 19 years old. She can handle this,” said her husband. “Besides, she knows the city well.”
My daughter didn’t seem too concerned. And she knows how to play her “calm her mommy” game. She dutifully texted me as she was going through security. She is in line to buy coffee. at the gate.
I heard from her when she sat on the plane (with a selfie for added reassurance). Then when she landed. When she met up with her roommate again, they were able to take the subway into town to meet another friend.
The strange thing is that I’m not usually the kind of mom who goes crazy over little things. I know they’re capable people, but there’s not much I can do from thousands of miles away.
But when the flight looms, it melts into a quivering mass of mama jelly.
The night before they leave, I get up every hour to check the time. Flight schedule. weather.
Just in case, we leave for the airport significantly earlier than we need to. I remind them to drink lots of water (the plane is dehydrated!) I (repeatedly) ask if they have their ID and e-ticket ready.
But this weekend, the tables will turn. I am flying to Chicago to see my son. No worries on my part.
But I’m going to text him anyway once I get through security…and maybe at the gate again. Once seated.
After all, I don’t want my child to worry about me.
Charlotte is a columnist for The Times. You can reach her at her firstname.lastname@example.org.