Having an 8th grader is a big problem for me. It means I have to come to terms with the reality that my son is not 7 anymore. I loved 7. I don’t care what anyone else says for a boy seven is the best age. I don’t write as often about my son as I do my daughter because well, he’s older and at this age life seems to be on cruise control, there aren’t that many milestones in middle school. He has always been a self entertaining kid I can’t tell you how easy it was raising him, were talking pure joy. The teenage years have brought more autonomy but there is still a definite need for parental presence, given the choice of managing his time on his own we know that studying plays a backseat to Black Ops. Always.
On Friday night I put him on a bus headed Los Angeles International Airport to catch a red eye with 60 other 8th graders headed to Washington DC for five days. As I watched those buses pull away I thought to myself how on earth am I going to let this kid go in four years. I know I have some time to think about this. I also know that spacing out my kids (not on purpose mind you) is going to postpone the empty nest for another nine years, well played, right? Its still going to be painful to let him go. It was all I could do to not crawl in that suitcase and stow away in his carry on. Everyone assured me that the teachers have done this trip 15 times before and they had it down to a science. They even told us they hired college kids to patrol the hotel hallways 24/7 and taped exit doors shut so they couldn’t sneak out. A part of me thinks I could have slipped out under the radar given the chance. SuperB was a combination of nerves and excitement and my stomach was full of butterflies. What if he leaves his suitcase at the airport, who’s going to remind him to check the front pocket in front of him before he exits the plane? Ack. I need a Tums.
When I got home I immediately pulled up his flight on FlightView (how much do I love my new phone). I also fired up 5-0 radio so I could listen to the SoCal Air Traffic Controllers and the pilots that evening. I began to cruise instagram and my phone rang it was him. He was chatty, that could only mean one thing, nerves. If you have a teenage boy you know they don’t talk they grunt, so this was unusual. I felt for him. This was his first flight without his parents. I didn’t even take my first flight alone until I was almost 24! I decided to send him this. This is his bear. He’s gonna kill me for sharing this but I had to, do you recognize this well loved Snuffles Gund Bear, he has taken one too many trips around the dryer. On high. I thought it would be cute if I said his bear missed him, I think he thought I was saying I missed him, which was actually more close to the truth. I definitely felt better after seeing this.
Thank goodness for the FlightView App. This was the only way I could ever expect to get any sleep while he was in the air.
I’m happy to say that he’ll be home tomorrow night and you know I’ll be back tracking his flight and listening for his pilots as they approach LAX. Its the next best thing to holding his hand.