The Goddess Speaks
Mom’s girl, 10, flies solo
I took my daughter to the airport the other day. She went to California. Flew all by herself.
My stomach was in knots all morning as we finished packing and made our way to Honolulu International Airport. Rationally I knew she would be safe. She'd done it once before. My sister's kid does it all the time. But my heart was pounding.
I kept it from her, masking it as excitement about the trip. She, of course, was exuberant about all aspects of the adventure ahead: independence, fun and the warm chocolate chip cookies they serve at the end of each Aloha Airlines flight. She was ready to fly.
They called her name and I took her to the flight attendant who would escort her onto the plane. She hugged me tight and I kissed her goodbye. She would be gone only a week, but it was still a major separation.
When she walked through the portal to board the aircraft it felt like she was one of those containers at the bank, sucked by a vacuum and transported with my deposit to the other side. Whoosh. And she was gone.
I didn't realize how intrinsically her presence has been integrated into my system until she was pulled from my side into a world of her own. Kind of like shucking an opihi right off the rock or separating two Velcro strips. It took me a while to recover.
I knew this was a good thing. My system just had to adjust.
When she was younger I really needed the break from the demands of single parenthood that babysitters and recreation programs offered. But now she's 10. Her demands are much less, making time together quite comfortable. This trip was all for her.
I managed to calm down. Her adventure would become my reprieve. If I spent it worrying, I would be doing nobody any favors. So I embraced my own independence and got ready to enjoy the peace and quiet of our home all by myself.
Our lives were about to change.
Not only would she come home to a new house, but my fiancé and his daughter were moving in, too. Our family of two would double to one of four -- the nuclear kind.
I'm getting a partner, she a step-sister and all the complicated connections that will ensue. While the promise of reward greatly outweighs any temporary discomfort, the impact of rewiring each of our emotional systems looms uncomfortably ahead.
A week away for her and a week of rest for me is just what we needed. We will all be home together soon enough and ready for change.
I will arrive again at the airport and anxiously await her return. Between hugs and chatter and gathering our baggage, we will embark on our new journey, hand in hand, with the other arms outstretched, interlocking the pieces of a bigger puzzle as we let go and hold on and reconnect in our new family pattern -- the nuclear kind.
Lorraine Gershun is publications adviser for Searider Productions at Waianae High School.
The Goddess Speaks
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