Sunday, July 29, 2007

"It's much better to face these kinds of things with a sense of poise and rationality ..." ~ Panic At The Disco

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Who knew that seven weeks could pass so quickly? It just hadn't seemed that long since Jamie had arrived home for the summer (despite the constant bickering between herself and her sister) but it seemed that all of a sudden the day had arrived for her to board a plane and join her father and stepmother at her new home in Florida.

After making sure that she had everything packed and ready to go, we went to pick my mother up to make the trip to the airport with us. While at her house I figured it might be nice to get a picture or two of Jamie and her grandmother as well as Jamie and Amanda before we headed out.

Amanda obviously wasn't up to being photographed with her sister as you can tell by her lack of enthusiasm in this picture ...

.. until I reminded her that Jamie would be leaving in a short amount of time and this was the last picture I would be taking of them together this summer. Somehow that did the trick for her though not Jamie!

Once we got Jamie checked in with Southwest it was time to make our way through security and head down to the gate but first I had her pose near the new painted Husky that the airport was displaying. Some places have painted cows - we in Connecticut have Huskys as that's the name of the sports teams for the University of Connecticut. You might have heard of them? The basketball team has won championships before ... though not recently.

Now those of you who have been regular readers of my blog know that one of the things that I have moaned and groaned about a lot when it comes to this whole flying process with Jamie has been the outrageous fees that the airlines charge for unaccompanied minors. Sometimes the fee has been higher than the actual cost of the ticket which just doesn't seem right to me. I consider that to be legitimate griping! Am I wrong??

Well now that Jamie is living near Tampa, the problem appears to be solved as Southwest Airlines (bless their low-fare hearts!) offers non-stop service between Bradley International and Tampa International so I no longer have to pay that ridiculous fee. Southwest accepts children over the age of 11 without an accompanied minor fee and they still let an adult go down to the gate with them to make sure they get on the plane as well as allow an adult to meet the plane on the receiving end. All without charging $75 to do it! I definitely Southwest!

For Jamie, though, this was the first time she had ever flown unaccompanied so she wasn't sure how she was going to handle not having someone direct her on her flight!

However she soon noticed that there was a rather cute boy who also appeared to be flying unaccompanied. Perhaps one of the candy bars that her grandmother had bought for her might entice him to help her out should she become a "damsel in distress"? Hmm ...

As it turned out, of the 49 people on her flight there were 4 other unaccompanied minors so I was sure that Jamie was going to be fine once she got to Tampa even if her father hadn't managed to get down to the gate to meet her. Apparently Tampa has got a much larger airport than Hartford does (not a surprise!) and there's some sort of tram system that gets you to baggage claim that sounded somewhat intimidating to Jamie. However, I was hopeful her Dad would meet her at the gate. Still, it made her feel better to know that there were other kids on the flight who might feel a bit lost, too. It also made me feel a little better as I watched other parents wish their children a tearful good-bye but I can't decide if I prefer "safety in numbers" or "misery loves company" on this one!

I stayed at the gate and watched Jamie's plane taxi out onto the runway before I pulled myself together and finally made my way back out through security where Amanda and my Mom were waiting. I've got to admit that the car ride home was a lot quieter with just one kid in the back but it just seemed like there was something missing and it seemed even more so when we finally got home to what felt like a much emptier house - to me at least, I don't think Amanda really noticed.

When Jamie called at 9:45 to let me know she was safely on the ground and had been met at the gate by her father I was finally able to let out the mental breath I had been holding and heave a slight sigh of relief before I went upstairs to bed - still attempting that bit of poise and rationality.

16 comments:

  1. Welcome Back! Missed ya, Kid.
    I remember quite well about 20 years ago this past June when my son's Godparents who live in the Tampa area had sent him a plane ticket to fly down there - alone -and spend three weeks there with them. I had to take him down to National Airport in D.C. to get the flight and his little sister and I were allowed to go on the plane with him, to help him settle in the seat, etc. The attendants were very nice, fawning over this kid, making the flight alone (first flight ever too, it was, for him.) And, after we got him on the plane, his sister and I stood at the windows in the terminal watching the plane taxi out and take off and I was struggling to hold back the tears watching my little boy fly off into the great beyond.

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  2. this means summer is coming to an end too, all the children go back, sad, huh? i am so glad you got to have her though. wonder what he said about her hair? ha ha

    smiles, bee

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  3. The nest is empty and we must go forward, I am sure you enjoyed the past 7 weeks, like a ray of sunshine.

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  4. I know you'll miss Jaime after he being with you during the summer.

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  5. Awww... I know how hard it is for you to send her back each time she comes. Hopefully now with the low Southwest fares and no unaccompanied minor fee.... you can get here out here to visit a little more often!!

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  6. Awww...when I saw that photo of the plane leaving the terminal, I got a bit weepy. I'm glad she made it home safely. :)


    ...now I can't get that song out of my head, though. That is an awesome song!

    "I chimed in haven't you people ever heard of..."

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  7. We have to let those strings loosen a bit every now & then (but never all together). I do eel for you.

    She'll be a better adult for you supporting her to do this. If your house is too quiet call me I have a 14 yr old I could post over!!!!

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  8. I'm so glad to have you back although, when I saw your post, I knew it meant Jamie was home and that made me sad for all of you. However, hopefully you'll be able to focus on the wonderful 7 weeks you had together and all the neat stuff you did as mother and daughters! Hang tough!

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  9. I'll remember to fly Southwest since you like them so much. Summer is coming to an end. I go shopping with my two grandbabies this coming Thursday for their school clothes. It's fun, but I know that school is just around the corner. Wonderful post as always. I felt like I was there. Have a great day. :)

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  10. Welcome home. You were missed even though we understood daughters come first. While you were shipping one off, I was getting one home as the grandson has returned after a month with his mother. Chris often complains about that fee when shipping David, so I will mention Southwest in case they fly somewhere near PA.

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  11. It must be soooo hard for you to let her go! I feel for you. Glad she arrived safe and well. Looking forward to the next visit now eh?

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  12. Nice post, Linda. Jamie's quite the photo subject, eh? Seemed like she enjoyed being in front of the camera more than Amanda. Loved Jamie's various poses @ the airport - especially the "confused" look. "Mrs. Bulldog" sees the same expression on my face every time we go to ANY airport. BTW: missing her so much is what makes you a "super" Mom!!

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  13. This is really tough. I couldn't see me in such a situation and remain composed. Super Mom is an apt description. BTW, I flew Southwest with the wheelchair BDL-Raleigh-Durham, and they were absolutely spectacular in how they handled my travels...

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  14. Oh, Linda.. that sure DID go by fast! I'm sure you're missing her terribly. :(

    I love the photos.. especially the one where she's smooshing her face.

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  15. I particularly liked the photo where she notices the unaccompanied boy.... hmmmmmmm, she says... and you can hear it, too.

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