My Unaccompanied Minor: Leavin' on a Jet Plane

For the first time ever, I took my Bunny to the airport and helped her board a plane as an unaccompanied minor to visit her aunt.  She flew last year as well but I was on the pick-up leg that time.  The pick-up leg is way easier.

Whew.  Man.  It tied my stomach up in knots.  What's it like when they go to college?  Will I need a sedative?

I hugged her tight and gave a couple last minute instructions.  She had a moment’s hesitation and needed a few extra hugs and a little reassurance but then she got to walk with the pilot and she thought that was pretty cool.  She turned around in the doorway and waved goodbye and flashed a big smile.  I smiled back but my heart felt a little achy.

I found some scrap paper and a pen in my backpack and I wrote her a note.  I told her how much I love her and how I’m proud of her each and every day.  I told her she didn’t need to worry about a thing – her uncle would be on the other end of her flight and her aunt had plans to spoil her rotten as usual.

I folded it up and handed it to the woman waiting to board the plane who had been sitting nearby when Bunny and I said goodbye.  She had said to me, “Saying goodbye is tough, isn’t it, honey?”  So I figured she'd be understanding enough to help me out.

She said she’d be happy to give Bunny the note.  Nice lady.

Then Pip and I settled in to our seats by the window to watch the planes take off.  I kept looking back toward the doorway Bunny had gone through.  A little piece of me thought that maybe she’d need me.  Maybe someone would have to come running out to get me.

But she was OK.

And that’s great that she’s OK without me.

It’s great.

It’s…you know…of course…um…it’s just great.

I watched them pull the temporary hallway that looks like an accordion away from the door to the plane and I sighed.

And then a Southwest employee tapped me on the shoulder.  She said, “This is from Bunny.”

The small piece of paper, torn from a notebook, was folded into a tiny square.  On the front it said, “Bunny’s Mom” in an adult’s handwriting.  Inside was the familiar, messy scrawl I sometimes nag her about as she does her homework.

“Dear Mom,

I love you, too.

I miss you already.

Love, Bunny”

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