“Have a Good Time!”

Just dropped my fourteen-year-old at the airport. She’s off to southern California to spend a week with her aunt who will no doubt spoil her rotten. She’s been excited for three weeks. Today, I put an end to all that.

In my story, “Sail Away,” my heroine is a worrywart who stresses about everything that could possibly happen to her children. I thought I’d based the character on my mother. Seems my lead may be a little closer to home.

I told my daughter all the usuals: stay in the terminal; don’t use the stairs; if you get lost, go to a ticketing agent. But then I couldn’t stop. Kind of like Twizzlers. If I taste just one, I have to eat the whole package.

My primary focus – abduction. Now the airport is probably the safest place as far as protected boundaries, but there are exits. I told my daughter that if anyone should stick something in her side and tell her to not make a sound, she should scream “Bomb!” I figure in an airport, that would grab the most attention. (If someone accidently bumps into her, and DFW is locked down for the day, please forgive me.)

Then I went on to explain why she’d have a better chance of surviving a gun or knife wound than being taken away in a car to a distant location. As fear replaced the excitement in her eyes, I realized I might have gone too far, so I switched back to “Happy Mom.” I took a picture of her, much like the first day of school. After all, this was her first solo flight without the assistance of an airline rep. I didn’t mention it would be good to have a picture of her in what she was last wearing if we had to do an Amber Alert.

In the security line, I made a point to focus on all the fun she’d have. When we parted, I left a happy girl. She looked so grown-up with her beautiful smile, long, blonde hair and way too perfect body. I couldn’t help but call out:

“If anyone offers to show you the cockpit, slap his face and run away.”

12 thoughts on ““Have a Good Time!”

  1. Poor Chris. What is it about that first solo trip that turns a perfectly reasonable woman into a raging nut-case? If it’s any consolation, age of progeny has no bearing as our mind conjures what might happen. I think RS authors have it worse, though; their worst-case-scenerio imagination is already primed and pumped well before young ‘un takes those first steps toward personal freedom!

  2. Chris,

    Don’t be surprised if a posed, who is that girl, daughter gets off the plane. Going it alone builds confidence better than any lecture ever could. The picture is good because your daughter will never look like that again. I know this because I put my fourteen year old boy on a plance once, and what came back to me was a fourteen year old young man.

    Jamie Burton

  3. I feel like a horrible mother. Last year I let my older daughter (aged 16 at the time) go to Senegal on a school trip. And I didn’t think to tell her any of this. She came home with her hair in cornrows with tons of pictures of her Senegalese family and all kinds of admonitions to call often.

  4. Err…trying to be helpful here, because I have similar panics about my own kids. (Nearly drowned in my own hyperventilation when Owen went on a canoe campout with the Boy Scouts a few weeks ago. All that water! Yikes!) But here’s what I hope will be the reassuring part:

    When I was twelve, and looked as much like twenty as your daughter does now, I took an overnight trip on Amtrak from Chicago to NYC, where my grandparents lived. The porters all looked out for me, and not a soul so much as cast a threatening glance in my direction. I suspect that looking a little older made people less likely, not more, to mess with me. It’s good protection.

    • Would have FREAKED if I had put her on the train, especially an overnighter. Of course, knowing you, you probably already had the maturity of a 40-year-old. Nobody would’ve had the guts to mess with you.

  5. LOL, Chris! Great post! And I agree with Gwyn. RS authors can think up worse things than the average, “normal”, person can think up. I’m just thankful I don’t have kids. It’s bad enough when I watch my niece and nephew. I’m like, “Don’t do this, stay away from there, don’t look at that guy, keep walking, I have to always be able to see you”…and they’re 12 & 10.

  6. OMG Chris – while everyone else thinks this is just great writing – I know it’s true!!! Freakin
    hilarious!!! i posted it on my Facebook – it’s so easy to do – you should write a blog about facebook and then let your readers know how to post their replies because it automatically includes your link to the blog – you could have hundreds of readers in no time! Call me if you don’t know how to do it!

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