Thirteen is a dreadful, wonderful, awkward, hilarious age. There's not much to be said of it in most cases, except that it will, eventually, end. That is, there is not much to be said for it... unless you are Jewish. I'm sure that many of you have been to a bar/bat mizvah, but this was my very first. And it had an extra layer of adventure-- this bar mizvah, for Clover and Neptune's cousin ("Mitzvah") was held in Dallas. I was in Texas once, as a four year old, but my memories are understandably hazy. For all intents and purposes, this was to be my first trip to The Lone Star State. It was also to be the first flight the children and I would take without their parents. (For health reasons, A and K were unable to travel.) I had a nagging concern that someone would question my accompanying the children-- that a TSA Official would sneer down at me, and demand some sort of "proof of relationship." (Incidentally, I had this. A gave me a note in case this came up.) But... nope. No one even cared to see the children's ID. So that made things easy (though kind of concerning-- it shouldn't be that easy to fly off with kids that aren't yours, should it?).
But you know what really lowered the stress factor? How adept the children are getting at going through security. Between the three of us, we had 3 backpacks, 1 wheeled suitcase, 2 pairs of shoes to remove (Neptune could leave his on), 3 jackets to send through the x-ray separately, 1 DVD player and 1 laptop (the last two had to be removed from the bags and scanned separately, of course). The kids were quick and efficient at all of this, and between the three of us, I don't think we took much longer to get through security than any other three people.
On second thought, maybe the reason no one ever challenged my "right" to be with the children was because they didn't want to get involved. It was a Project, friends.
But it worked. We got their suitcase checked, all of us through security, had a nice brunch, and got to the gate with time to spare. Once there, we entreated the gate attendant to change our seats so that we could sit together. All three seats were separate, for some reason. After some shuffling, we got two seats together (18B and 18C) and one apart (17F). 18A is a window seat, just as 17F is, so I thought there would surely be no problem switching the person in 18A to 17F. After all, she was clearly going to be travelling by herself, right? And window for window, that's a fair exhange, right?
The woman in 18A was Quite Against switching. She was pleasant as she calmly explained, "Oh, I chose this seat."
So I consoled myself with diagnosing her with OCD in my mind.
I tried to get the people in 17D and E to switch with Neptune and me, but they were similarly disinterested. I was feeling at a loss, and decided to see if a flight attendant had any ideas for me, when the man in 18D (across the aisle from Neptune and me) offered to switch with Clover. The man traded his aisle seat for a window, to save us distress. I wanted to give him a medal of some kind, but was experiencing a shortage at the time. Instead I settled for thanking him profusely. Clover looked relieved. She had said she wanted to sit alone, but had seemingly forgotten that, on a plane, "alone" really just means "with people you don't know only centimeters away." That was NOT what she had in mind.
Settled into our seats, we pulled out our reading material, iPods, and DS games.
And that flight? The one about which people from all parts of my life have been warning me for WEEKS?
It could not have gone smoother. The children were calm, patient, and cheerful.
And I could not have been more delighted.
Stay tuned for what happened once we got to Dallas!