A good time was had by all.
We arrived at the airport and made it pretty quickly through check-in and security. We went to the bookstore and bought a new book for him to read on the flight, since that is what I do when I fly. We stopped at the newsstand and purchased gum, Kleenex and water. We did a quick review of the rules:
"When do you put your feet on the chair in front of you?" Never.
"Where do you put your gum when you are finished with it?" In my Kleenex.
"Who is the boss when you are on the airplane?" The flight attendant.
And on and on, since I am nothing if not a rule follower. Clearly I have not passed this trait on to my eldest. Oh, he can recite the rules and make you believe that he is planning on following them, but it's all a ploy to get out of my immediate reach and go nuts. More on that later.
So, the very nice flight attendant took Nathan on the plane first, so he could get adjusted and visit the cockpit. I stayed at the gate until I saw the plane pull away and taxi down the runway. I sent out the appropriate text messages and called Trevor to let him know that all was well. At this point, you might be asking yourself what was so grueling about that? Perhaps you are thinking that I have a weak constitution and just the simple task of dropping my son off at the airport is too much for me to handle.
Just wait for it....
Gracie's birthday party is tomorrow, so I headed out to finish up some last minute errands, like, you know, buying our child's gift. I was happily strolling the aisles of my (note the proprietary tone) Super Target, browsing and enjoying some time alone. I got back in the Tahoe to drive home, and my phone rang. I was informed by Trevor that Nathan's plane had turned around and gone back to the terminal because of MECHANICAL PROBLEMS!
Yes, people. My child was on a faulty plane that ALMOST took off with something wrong with the hydraulics (I hope I'm making it sound like I totally know what I'm talking about here). Trevor hung up with the promise that he would call the airport and try to find out if I needed to go back or not.
Well, after several conversations and a not-so-briefly considered idea of not letting him fly at all, because this must be a sign or something, I headed back to the airport. Whereas I hit every green light when we were traveling calmly and ahead of schedule, this time I hit every red light and I was apparently driving within a narrow window of time in which every bad driver on a cell phone was on the road.
I finally arrived, got a strange look from the guard at the entrance to the parking garage who I had greeted only a few hours before, and made it through security with little trouble. I'm sure that everyone thought I was late for my flight, because I was the poster child as I fast-walked/ran through the terminal. And wouldn't you know it, the gate that Nathan had been moved to was at the VERY END OF THE TERMINAL. I use all caps so you can feel my frustration after the red lights, bad drivers, lack of parking spaces and trying to put my shoes back on and tie them as I ran through the airport.
When I finally arrived at Gate 19, I saw Nathan's red hair peeking just above the ticket counter and it was a beautiful sight for this mother's heart. The flight attendants were taking very good care of him, but he was tired of all the chaos and was getting hungry. I took him to get some lunch before he had to board again, and we sat down at the gate as he finished eating. One of the flight attendants asked to speak to me privately, and let me know that Nathan had been less than obedient in all the excitement. She was very polite, but it was clear that Nathan had not been listening to them and that he needed a talking to.
Mortified, I was more that happy to oblige and made it clear that Aunt Ronna would be inquiring about his behavior when he landed, so he had better behave himself. It was finally time to board again, and we waited until last to send him in so he would have less time to have to sit still. Here is the fuzzy picture I snapped as he was about to turn to go down the jet way:
My baby looked so small, but he was excited and when he arrived in DC he was all smiles and ready to go. So, now I have a week without him and I already miss his quick smile and funny ways. I'm glad that he has this opportunity to travel and to get to know my brother, sister-in-law and nephew better, but I can't wait to have him back home.