We’re back at the airport.
This time the only one travelling is Little Boy K, but Baby S and I are here because that’s how we roll…as a pack
of rabid dogs.
This is our twice-a-month routine. Saturday mornings we all pile into the car, drive K to the airport, all pile out of the car, go through the Southwest line, go through security, get K on the plane, wait for it to take off, and then Baby S and I quietly and solemnly reverse the process and get back in the car. Then on Sunday, Baby S and I pile in the car, drive to the airport, pile out of the car, go through the Southwest line, go through security, wait for the plane to land and claim the
total curmudgeon of an exhausted six-year-old precious, smiling red-headed angel that is Little Boy K, reverse the process and pile back in the car.
I used to fly up to Dallas with K, then turn around (after pumping breastmilk on the floor of the
filthy glorious Dallas airport restroom because that’s clearly the only appropriate place to create food for your child, you hippie heathen) and fly back. K’s father would repeat this process for the return trip on Sunday. Despite certain inconveniences, I rather enjoyed the time alone I was able to spend with K on those flights. The visits are very hard on K such wonderful fun so he is always in need of a little extra video game snuggle time and cheetos love leading up to one.
Beginning when Little Boy K was five, his father began to insist that Little Boy K fly solo on these trips. Due to our legal arrangement, I didn’t really have much choice in the matter, and like Forrest Gump, that’s about all I have to say about that
I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s right. It freaks me the heck out.
So you understand my state of mind going into the following events. Anyway…
So twice a month, I put my little boy, my irreplaceable baby, who I never let out of the sight of a responsible adult family member or teacher, who I never even leave with a babysitter, on a
flying death machine plane full of strangers. Little Boy K accepts this with a surprising amount of dignity, thanks to very directed manipulation. My precious child has become an Unaccompanied Minor (Southwest’s eloquent term for children dumped on planes alone travelling by themselves).
Since the Unaccompanied Minors (couldn’t we call them Happy Flyers or something?) board first, we have plenty of time to feel the weight of the stares of the 150 or so passengers pressing eagerly to the front of the line
because, in case you aren’t aware, planes promptly shut their doors to all passengers who haven’t boarded in the first five minutes, leaving hordes of angry customers trapped in the airport.
The flight attendants are usually
nuts wonderful, very friendly with K, and try to ease any trepidation that might be seeping through his bright face, hiding among the freckles.
This week, Little Boy K
reluctantly trudges trots right off, after a last hug, Iron Man backpack firmly in place, his blue zipper envelope hanging from his neck, announcing to any child predators who might be travelling to Dallas today that he is an Unaccompanied Minor.
We blow kisses to each other and he waves to Baby S right before he heads down the runway to board the plane.
Once I know he can’t see me any more, I take a few deep breaths and
try not to cry turn my attention to pacifying Baby S until it is time for us to leave. Even though Baby S is a raging hell-cat of a strollerbaby always content to sit calmly in his stroller, I figure I will let him out for a bit to pick up trash off the ground stretch his legs.
Baby S heads straight for the giant windows, toddling along at break-neck speed. I point out the plane and ask if he wants to wave bye-bye to K. Raising his sweet little chubby-fingered hand to the glass, I sense that this is one of those “moments” and grab for my iPhone to snap a picture.
How sweet is that? As I’m looking at the picture, I notice out of the corner of my eye that Baby S has seated himself on the windowsill and is staring at something that has caught his attention near the plane.
Are those cop cars? Why yes, there are three of them.
And a big, black
drug dealer suburban with darkly tinted windows. You know the type.
I wonder what or who could be on the plane with my sweet child travelling alone that would require three police escorts and a big, black
drug dealer suburban. My Mommy-anxiety kicks in and my heart starts to pound. I watch as the side door on the boarding ramp opens and a man in a dark suit steps out, his jacket blowing open and exposing a badge that is too small for me to read.
My mind starts racing… maybe he is one of the undercover government agents who
supposedly patrol the flights for terrorists? Thinking I probably shouldn’t be seeing this, I reach down to grab Baby S’s hand to pull him away from the window.
And then I freeze… why would an air marshal need three police escorts?
FBI! It must be FBI and they probably just put a criminal, a federal criminal, one dangerous enough to require three police escorts and the
drug dealer suburban.
As visions of ConAir float through my head, I tell myself to calm down and think this through more.
Should I do something? I don’t want my baby on that plane alone with a criminal! And what kind of criminal could this be to need all of that backup?
MULTIPLE CRIMINALS! I bet there are multiple criminals! 3 cops = 3 criminals!
The plane starts to pull back from the gate and I know I have missed my chance. I can’t get Little Boy K off at this point. I imagine him sitting there, in the first row where they put all of the
Happy Flyers Unaccompanied Minors, busily chatting up the strangers next to him because K never stops talking is really friendly.
And next to him sits:
I start to feel trapped as I watch the
drug dealer suburban and three police cars trail the plane back from the gate. For the entourage to refuse to even leave the plane’s side, this must be very serious.
throw gently strap Baby S back into his Stroller.
Desperately wanting to find out more information, I
attack calmly get the attention of the flight attendant who helped K board the plane.
“Did you just see that?” I ask
accusingly. “My child is on that plane alone! Who did they just put on that plane that needs three police escorts and a black suburban?!” He looks at me like I’m crazy.
“It must be a very bad person to need all that extra backup! Is it a criminal?!” I try again. Why isn’t he answering me? Maybe there’s a confidentiality issue or something….
“Well some people might think he’s a bad guy,” he chuckles. Is this some sort of joke? I
wring his frigging neck stare at him, my mouth gaping open.
“It was the lieutenant governor.”
not drug dealer suburban, guy in a dark suit…now I get it.
Good thing I didn’t overreact or anything.
As my pulse begins to slow again it becomes obvious to me how I allowed my imagination to get the better of me, my vision of Hannibal Lector sitting next to my child all the way to Dallas slowly fades away and is replaced with a vision of Little Boy K surreptitiously wiping his cheeto fingers on the lieutenant governor’s coat as he merrily talks his ear off about Star Wars or Darth Maul or the Force.
And I breathe a sigh of relief.
Happily linking up today with the wonderful folks at Yeah Write #54!
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