The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Come Fly with Me

I remember the first time I picked up my husband, then boyfriend, at the airport. It was ten years before 9/11, so I was able to meet Reese at the gate. I positioned myself at his flight's assigned jet way exit fifteen minutes before his scheduled arrival.

The first person off was a forty-ish looking man in a suit. He wrapped his arms around his wife and two kids. I walked closer to the door, figuring Reese would soon be exiting. A couple more business travelers trotted past. A family with a stroller came out. The guy holding a sign for Mr. Fred Jones found him. A flight attendant exited with her rollaway bag. Still, Reese did not emerge. I began to look for a pay phone to check my answering machine for messages. I was surprised when Reese hugged me from behind.

"What happened? Were you on a different plane?" I asked.

"No, I always sit and read while everyone else rushes out."

I was amazed. He sat for five hours in a cramped plane, yet after landing, he wanted to sit an extra twenty minutes.

Our differences in airplane style became more apparent the first time we rode an airplane together, to meet Reese's parents in Virginia. We got to the gate with about twenty minutes to spare. Reese sat, reading his soccer magazine. Just after the announcement offering early boarding to children traveling alone and others who need a little extra time, Reese announced he was going to the bathroom. Our row was called. Still no Reese. I contemplated getting on the plane myself, but then decided I didn't want to be alone visiting Reese's parents. Just as the flight attendant made the final boarding call, Reese sat down next to me.

"That was close," I said.

"We have lots of time. They won't close the door for another five minutes. I hate the airplane bathrooms. Are you sure you don't want to go?"

I shook my head. Once we got seated, Reese reopened his soccer magazine and ignored the flight attendant's safety instructions. I pretended not to be listening, but as usual, I held the laminated instruction card and looked for the closest exits, both in front of and behind me.

The plane began to lift. I knew that was the time for engines to blow-up and wings to fail. I grabbed Reese's hand. He used his other to keep his soccer magazine open. We landed in Reese's home airport, Washington National, which is about twenty minutes from his parents' house. I was perplexed that neither of his parents was at the gate to meet us. Reese walked up to the pay phone. "I'm going to tell my parents we’re in and on our way."

"Your parents are home, but they don't pick you up at the airport?"

"No, my parents travel too much to ask to be picked up at the airport, and they don't do it for anybody else."

As we waited for a cab, I remembered how my father always drove an hour from Boulder to the Denver airport. He'd get to the gate early to make sure he was there when I emerged from the plane.

Over our ten years of marriage, Reese and I have worked on our airplane incompatibility. Through consistent nagging, I've gotten him to make his bathroom visits before the plane starts boarding. I've come to appreciate waiting till the crowd exits before leaving the plane, especially now that we have two young children.

Reese agrees with me that it is wonderful to have family meet you at the airport, even if the reunions can't be at the gate anymore.

Ever since our first flight together, Reese has held my hand during take-off, usually without me having to ask. During our last family flight together, our seven-year son, Walker, refused to take my hand as the plane tilted upward. Instead, he held both his hands in the air, like he was riding a roller coaster. I let go of Reese's hand, and we all held our arms up, to ear level.

We were starting our own airplane tradition.

By Beth Touchette


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