Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fear of Flying

This past weekend, I flew out to the Midwest to attend a baby shower for my daughter-in-law, who is staying with her parents while my son (the daddy-to-be) is on an Army deployment. It was absolutely wonderful, and I am so happy I was able to be there! I had not seen her since before I found out that she was pregnant with twins, and I will most likely not see her again until her two little bundles of joy make their eagerly-awaited appearance into the world a couple of months from now. So it meant a lot to me to be able to be with her during this very special time of her life, even if just for a few days.

The only down side for me about the entire experience is that I am a white-knuckle flyer--in spite of the fact that my husband flies for a major airline and this means that I can fly wherever I want, whenever I want! I have to fly stand-by, but the price is right! And yet, if I could avoid ever getting on an airplane for the rest of my life, I think I would.

My brain tells me that statistically, flying is much safer than driving; but my nerves don't always listen. I don't know if it's the fear of being up high or the sensation of a complete loss of control, or a combination of the two; but I don't handle being airborne very well. Those huge metal machines don't really seem like they should be able to get off the ground empty, and certainly not with hundreds of bodies on board, not to mention all that luggage--my bag alone always feels like it weighs a ton! I know it can all be explained by physics (right, son #4, my favorite physics major?), but it still boggles my mind.

However, I'm really working on my phobia. With my children moving far away, flying is a reality I'm going to have to learn to maybe not quite embrace, but at least get used to. This morning, my daughter-in-law's dad (who is an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church) gave me a traveler's blessing before I left their house--and I have to say, that did make me feel more at peace as I set off for the airport. Sometimes during flights I feel like I'm in H-E-double hockey sticks, if you know what I mean; but today when I looked out the window at those puffy, cotton-ball clouds, I could almost imagine I was close to Heaven.

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