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Major earth, minor sky

My first baby is flying solo today. She’s an unaccompanied minor, cruising at a ridiculous altitude toward her grandparents’ city 450 miles away.

Aidan’s school has two spring breaks. I never got two spring breaks? Did you?

Anyway, she decided it would be lovely to spend Spring Break II with her paternal grandparents. She spent her week-long Fall Break with my parents, so it only made sense for her to spread granddaughterly sunshine in equal parts. She invited herself both times, and all four grandparents graciously accepted.

My husband and I were left with the small detail of figuring out how to get her to her vacation destination this time. Because they live a good day’s drive away, we thought about meeting them in a small city about halfway in between. Round trip, it would require about 8 hours and a full tank of gas. Rinse, repeat next weekend. It would be ridiculously expensive, plus time consuming.

Airfares right now are lower than the cost of a couple of tanks of gasoline, we realized. A round-trip ticket on Southwest was very reasonable, so we decided to buy a ticket for her and send her off into the wild blue yonder. She’s nearing eleven years old and is mature and and a good kid. We’d give her this adventure.

Aidan was ecstatic when we told her of our plan. She literally counted down the days, plotted her packing, weighed airplane reading materials to take, obsessed over snack availability during the 1 hour 20 minute flight, and dreamed of fun things to do in the sunnier-than-ours spot.

The airline was able to assure us they’d take good care of her. My husband took her to the airport this morning. He had to fill out reams of paperwork and was allowed to go with her all the way to the gate, even through security. They tagged her. She will sit in the front. He won’t leave until she is in the air. Upon arrival, the flight attendant will take her off the plane and turn her over to my in-laws, who will be allowed to meet her at the gate as long as they provide the same information and IDs we indicated they would.

They won’t just turn her over to any random person standing around the gate.

She’ll be gone for a whole week.

It will be quiet around here, except for the thumping of my heart while she’s in the air, almost unaccompanied.

UPDATE 12:17 pm The Forgotten Time Zone Daylight Time (TFTZDT): My husband just called. He wasn’t allowed to leave the gate until she was in the air. She is. Just now. I burst into tears!? I can think of a zillion reasons why. I didn’t think it would be this hard. It’s like the first day of Kindergarten. Small steps out our door, with bigger events and challenges building upon each other as time flies by…

UPDATE 1:21 pm TFTZDT: She’s on the ground, safe and sound. My husband just talked to my father-in-law and Aidan. She had a great flight. With snacks!

I tracked her flight using Flightstats, which allowed me to see EXACTLY where she was on a Google Earth map, including her longitude, latitude, air speed (450 MPH! bestillmyheart), altitude, bearing, etc. It was cool and comforting to watch her progress.

14 comments to Major earth, minor sky

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