How the last thing we want is for them to fly but we push them anyway

It was several months ago when I realized that it was time for Naomi’s first solo adventure.  It happened sometime before Mexico, when we were gearing up for her international trip with her class and I realized how very grown up and capable she is, how very much she loves travel and how close the whole world really is.

I started plotting and planning and somewhere along the way she mentioned that maybe she could fly east this summer by herself?  And I said yes, because of course, it was a God idea.

So we booked tickets on Virgin America, the best fly east, non-stop and comfy-cozy.  And we told her bestie Rebecca, amidst much screaming, that Naomi was on her way in a few short weeks.  We added in a few days with her Auntie Roz, who is, like Naomi, both math-science smart and creatively talented.  Days for them to shop and play and for Naomi to catch up with her cousin and Goo Goo.

And then after a week of a few last minute things, it was time to go.  Yesterday we drove south, four hours, to San Francisco to drop her off.  We stopped for a little shopping and it was then that she got just a tiny case of jitters, wondering if she will miss home too much or run out of fun things to do.  Tears threatened to come but she held them off determinedly; she did not want a hug.  She was fighting to be brave, you see.  And I, the mama, well I was fighting too. Fighting to let her be brave, not to rescue, to be there to catch her if the fall got too big, but to let her fall enough to watch her soar.  It’s hard work, this mama stuff.

I walked her in through check in and the unaccompanied minor badge which she seems to old to wear but is required.  Through security, her showing me the way.  Up to the desk where we insisted that she still wanted her aisle seat even if it was nowhere close to the cabin.  Can’t you see that this young lady doesn’t need her hand held?

We sat together in the swivel chairs looking out at her plane being readied for boarding.  I took a selfie of us two and I used the chance to cry into her hair a little, just silently.  Sometimes even brave mamas cry.  And I do love the way she always smells like flowers no matter how long it’s been since she shampooed.

She turned around surprised and a little pleased I think.  “Don’t worry Mom” she said, “you have your other little munchkins!”  As if Ava and Quinn could ever take your place in any way at all.  Those other munchkins they are my heart and my soul but you, you are my nomish-bundle and you are irreplaceable.

They walked her down to the plane then, tall in her skinny acid-washed jeans and ethereal cardigan – all elegance and grace and poise.  I could see her making conversation with her attendant and I could imagine that she was ready to sit by herself and put her earphones in but instead was trying hard to be polite.

I sat at the window and cried as I waited for the plane to board . . . and taxi . . . and turn . . .and finally take off.  And all that time I cried because with all my heart I wanted her with me yet I was the one who made the plans and paid for the tickets and drove her south and said goodbye.  She was flying away and I had pushed her right out of my little nest.  And I was so proud and glad and sad and happy all at the same time.

You see once their wing feathers have come in there is no sense keeping them in a nest that has grown too small.

But for a Mama it never gets easier to let them take flight.

She is brave and wise and good, confident and collected, ready for the great adventures the world will bring her and ready to bless the world with her big heart and deep soul.  Now I pray for the grace to be ready too.

My fledgling in flight; will her wings hold her?  Of course they will.  And the great Wind will take her to beautiful places and home again, when the time is right.