A couple weeks ago, my husband found out that he got accepted for a professional development program and was going to have to attend training in St. Paul, Minnesota for a weekend. When he asked me to join him on the excursion, I excitedly said yes! Room service, a whole lot of me-time, and exploring a new place? Who would turn that down?
I was happy for the thought of a weekend away from responsibility – until I realized that Minnesota is pretty far from good ol’ Eden NY and would require me getting on an airplane, a thought that pretty much paralyzed me.
The weeks leading up to our trip were filled with anxiety. It ebbed and flowed, coming and going from day to day. When I wasn’t thinking about it, I was fine. But as soon as the vision of walking through the airport entered my mind, cue mental breakdowns. There was actually even a point where Luke admitted that he was somewhat regretful of his decision to invite me because it was causing me so much stress!
I knew I had to face my fear of flying eventually, but the idea of leaving our kids behind for a weekend while I put my entire life in a pilot’s hands was enough to make me sick. Before we left, I insisted we finally get around to making a will, something we should have done a long time ago. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? Luke and I wrote out our wishes for the kids and our belongings and I sobbed at my desk writing out letters to our kids, “just in case” – all the while seriously considering canceling my seat on the flight.
One night while tucking Marleigh into bed, I admitted to my four year old daughter that I was feeling afraid. “Don’t be scared, mommy. Just think of how beautiful it will be from the airplane!” followed by, “I will pray big God prayers that you will be brave.”
With tears streaming down my face, my daughter snapped me back into reality. Being in an airplane didn’t seem quite as scary when I realized that I wasn’t putting my life in the pilot’s hands at all. I was putting my life in God’s hands, and isn’t that something I should be doing everyday regardless of whether or not I’m 40,000 feet in the air?
The night before our 6AM flight, Marleigh squeezed “all of [her] bravery” into a stuffed animal dog for me to have when we were flying. I said probably a dozen “God prayers” on takeoff alone, and you better believe I squeezed that dog like my life depended on it the entire three hour flight.
It’s funny. As parents, everything we do seems to revolve around making sure our kids are cared for, safe, loved, and growing up to be decent members of society – when in reality, it’s our kids who teach us more about goodness, grace, innocence, and faith than we could ever expect.
Luke and I had a wonderful trip and both flights were smooth and hassle-free. And while it was kind of wonderful getting away for a while, we both couldn’t get home to our babies fast enough. When I snuggled into bed with Marleigh that night, I told her what I do every night: “I’m proud to be your mommy.” I wonder if she’ll ever know how much I mean it.
As for my fear of flying? I actually don’t want to throw up at the thought of getting back onto another plane… as long as our kids are coming along for the ride.
WRITTEN BY SAMANTHA JO
Samantha is the founder and owner of BuffaloMoms.com. Her friends call her Sam, Sammi, or Sammi Jo. Her two favorite people call her “Mommy.” Follow along with her ramblings on Twitter and Instagram, or on her personal blog, life by the Gills.