On Flying

Over the holidays we took a short trip up to Pennsylvania to visit my husband’s family. We decided against moving after all and it would be our last trip for awhile with the baby coming in just 7 (!) short weeks. It was a quick weekend trip, but the timing was perfect to see some snow, only Charley’s second time seeing it. He was thrilled; watching it float down through the air was just as magical as I remember. I was glad that at the last minute Charley and I decided to accompany Matt on the trip. Originally I was going to stay home, I’m just getting too big and am exhausted all the time. But seeing his face in the snow made it all worth it. He and Matt spent all day Saturday before New Year’s sledding and building a snow fort as close to six inches blanketed central P.A. I sat by the big picture window in my sister-in-law’s house and watched them from afar, it was almost as much fun. Charley is getting so big, and everyday I have to let him go a little bit more. I read Catherine Newman’s “Bringing up Birdy” on the flight and it was the perfect companion to the trip. In the memoir she is expecting her second just as her son is about to turn three, almost my exact situation. She writes first about the pregnancy and then towards the end about juggling two kids. I was taking notes for that part! After February feels like this scary unknown, but one that I’ve maybe navigated before. Much like driving a well-traveled road through the snowfall. You know the road is there and you know where you are going, but the journey is still frightening.

We had a layover with our flight both ways, and since we booked so last minute (the morning of) our seats were all over the place. The first leg of the trip I managed to sit across the aisle from Matt and Charley. I could kind of lean over and see Charley, but mostly Matt entertained him. The second leg the plane was very small and we switched so that I could sit with Charley on one side and Matt was across the aisle squished next to a larger gentleman. It felt comforting to be near my baby again. I’ve noticed I’m a more nervous flier now as a mom. I grip the seat tightly and for the first time in my life, I watch my son instead of the runway during takeoff and landing. I want to make sure he’s okay, and he always is.

On the way home I ended up several rows behind Matt and Charley and it was nerve-wracking. I wanted to see my little guy and know what he was doing. I had to trust that he was ok with daddy. The very last leg of the trip Matt gave me his first class ticket (he had been bumped before we booked our tickets) and they sat some twenty rows back in coach. At first I was a wreck! It was fun to be in first class, but I kept thinking how much Charley would like the mini water bottle they gave me and the cookies and blanket. I worried about him and it struck me, this is what being a mom of two will be. I have to let go of my firstborn just a little bit and focus on the baby. I have to trust that I’ve taught him well in three years and let dad take over a bit. It was hard, and as soon as the plane landed and people were departing, my eyes scanned the crowd for them. And there was Matt with a sound asleep Charley in his little yellow striped leggings thrown over his shoulder. He told me that he had slept the whole flight.