"You don't need to come with me. I know how to get on a plane," my daughter whined.
Thanks to LAUSD budget cuts, for the first time ever, she got the entire Thanksgiving week off from school. Of course, my sister tried to convince us to drive up Monday.
Unfortunately, that wasn't possible for my husband and me -- but there was no good reason to keep Megan home with us. We got her a one-way ticket on Southwest, and so yesterday, for the very first time, she flew alone.
"I'm over 12. I don't need anyone to accompany me," she complained.
Yes, she's 14 and she's been flying all her life. I know she knows how to comport herself in an airport.
But she's still my baby, and I didn't want to just drop her off.
I needed to see her get on the plane.
I've never gotten used to the post 9/11 world that keeps non-travelers away from the airport gate. When my friends and family fly in, I picture myself meeting them as they're getting off the plane.
My daughter doesn't realize that until very recently, that's just what you did. And I keep forgetting you can't do it any more.
Fortunately, as the parent of a minor flying alone, the TSA did allow me to wait with her. I just had to check in with the airline for a special pass that would allow me through.
I'm happy to report there were no junk-touching incidents, either. Just the usual polite workers dealing with harried travelers who had to remove their shoes and jackets for the scanners. I don't envy their jobs -- especially when I'm the one who is cranky and anxious because by the time I remove my shoes, my jacket, my cell phone, my laptop and handbag, I've usually got a line of people behind me who want me to hurry on through the line.
It was nice to go through the checkpoint with only a purse in hand.
Once inside, Megan seemed a little bit happy I was with her. But only a little bit.
For one thing, with me there, she did not have to lug around her heavy backpack while she scoped out the gift shop.
I'm the one who needed to be there. And once I saw her get on the plane, I went home...