Vacation 2012 Postcard: The First Time Flyer, the Reluctant Flyer, and the Frequent Flyer

This is our first real family vacation in 5 years. It requires plane tickets, hotel reservations, a rental car, a block of time off work, and money saved up. It’s a big deal. We are all over the moon about this trip … except for one little thing … flyer fears.

Our five year old is a first time flyer. While he can’t wait to see our family on the West coast, he isn’t looking forward to hopping on a plane. He doesn’t like loud noises and claims to be afraid of heights.

His fears fuel my fears. I worry about whether or not the sounds of the engine will be scary for him. I worry that he’ll cry at take off and in turbulence.

I also worry about the crowded airport because he doesn’t pay attention to his surroundings. He feels safe in most situations to walk away from us and explore. It makes me long for those kiddie harness people put on their kids. It would be one less concern. Okay, not really. It was a fleeting thought.

The seven year old is reluctant to fly. Last time he was on a plane he was two and too curious to be afraid. He’s expressed his displeasure for us taking a vacation that requires us to leave our house let alone travel across the country. He’s a homebody, what can I say?

He needs to feel in control and needs advanced notice of anything that is outside whatever “the plan” is. It’s hard to manage his expectations. We never know what’s going to cause a loud and disruptive reaction.

I worry that he’ll have an uncontrollable outburst like Jeffery from Bill Cosby’s Himself stand up routine. Sorry fellow travelers.

I am a frequent flyer. I travel domestically between five and fifteen times a year for work. So I have the etiquettes down (or so I think). The idea of going through security with my two little guys makes me nervous. It will be slower than I am used to travelling on my own.

My husband doesn’t fly frequently but he’s not a first timer or reluctant … He’ll be great with the boys. He’s fabulous at relating to them and helping them through difficult things.

REALITY:  Their excitement far outweighed their fears. The giggled as we took off. They laughed as the plane tilted toward the West.

“I can see the whole world from here,” said the first time flyer.

“I know. Isn’t it awesome?” responded the reluctant flyer.

“We’re flying,” said the first time flyer.

“This isn’t as scary as I thought it would be,” said the reluctant flyer.

They were wonderful. I couldn’t have asked for better behavior. I was worried for nothing.

“We’re in the clouds. Do you see them?” asked the reluctant flyer.

“Yeah. Yippee,” said the first time flyer..

“They look like ice cream.”

After we reached cruising altitude they pretty much ignored me. Entertaining themselves with the goodies I packed in their backpacks:

  • Power Rangers Samurai coloring books
  • Crayola Twistable Color Pencils
  • Books from our Summer Reading list
  • Their blankets

Several people sitting around us and even our flight attendant commented on how well they flew. As a frequent flyer who watches parents struggle to care for crabby kids, I am thankful that my boys surprised me so wonderfully.

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