Do You Ever Regret Leaving Your Children? Mid-Air Storm Makes This Mom Rethink Travel

Filed under: Opinions

There's a sudden storm over the Atlanta airport, so our plane is patiently circling. The pilot says it shouldn't be more than an extra 15 or 20 minutes.

He comes back over the intercom 20 minutes later to say the storm isn't moving. Other planes are diverting, but we have enough fuel, so we'll stay here and move closer up the line to being able to land. Ten minutes after that, his voice appears again to say even more planes have diverted, which he says is great news for us because we're up at the front of the line now. I'm starting to wonder.

Finally, we start to angle downwards and the descent begins.

Shake, shake, shake.

I hate turbulence. I'm not one of those people who is afraid of flying, yet I do have a strong preference that my flight be 100 percent bump-free from takeoff to touchdown.

Shake, shake, drop.

We probably didn't drop that much, but the weightlessness makes everyone audibly go "Whoa!" Then there's more dropping and shaking. I pull my seat belt tighter with one hand, while clenching the armrest tighter with the other.

I start to feel scared. I can see my fellow passengers feel the same way, because everyone seems smaller in their seats and the low murmur of friendly conversation has stopped. This is when I close my magazine and my eyes and withdraw into myself. I say the Lord's Prayer in my head because it focuses and calms me.

The plane is side to side and up and down as we claw our way through the endless mean clouds. I have been on a lot of flights in my life, and this turbulence is some of the worst I've ever been through. Landing in Birmingham, Ala., seems like it would have been a much better idea.

Now I'm mad at myself. Why did I go give that speech? Why did I leave my children? I just want to be with my family and hold my babies. I'm going to die and it will be because I left the most important people in my life this week to go do some speech I didn't have to do. I am 10s of thousands of feet in the air with a bunch of strangers in what amounts to a tin can being thrown around by thunder and lightning when I could be curled up on the couch watching Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom" with the ones I love. I'm an idiot.

Do you ever feel that way, when you are away from your children and find yourself in what may be a dangerous situation? All I can think about is how dumb I am for leaving and how much I regret it in this moment, even though my day has been wonderful up to this moment and I feel so fulfilled by the work I just did.

There's a terror that builds up inside me when I think about leaving my children prematurely, no matter the reason. I don't know if all moms feel the same way, or if it's just because I suffer from anxiety, but the idea of abandoning them, even if it is for reasons completely against my will, makes me sick to my stomach. It's enough to make me avoid going anywhere or doing anything other than being with them.

As we bounce around the sky, I briefly consider never leaving them again, but then I realize that would only teach them to fear. It has to be OK to venture out and do new things even if it means leaving your comfort zone. I have a job to protect them, but I also have the job of getting them ready to step out into the world on their own.

I know wish I wasn't on my own right now, as our plane violently shakes and groans, but perhaps rather than feeling stupid for ever leaving I should be proud that every so often I strike out into the world and away from my home, serving as an example to my children to try new things. On second thought, I think there's a bit too much shaking for me to be that self-evolved. Maybe if and when we land I can chalk this up to bravery, rather than stupidity.

After what seems like the longest descent in the history of manned flight, we break out of the clouds and the plane is still. Soon the wheels meet tarmac and many in the plane start clapping with gratitude. The stranger sitting next to me smiles, and we both start laughing. We can't help but laugh. I tell him there was a moment where I thought I was going to have to hold his hand, and that I'm sure my husband wouldn't have minded. He tells me he was thinking the same thing.

Deep breath. I'm here. I can't wait to kiss my children.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.