April 26, 2013 - 8:31am -- swingbug

Getting ready to board the plane. My son is plastered to the window at the gate watching the planes taxi up and down. It's his first flight. I wasn't too much older than him when I was flying by myself. Short trips off to see a cousin on the other side of the state. I can't imagine putting this kid on a plane by himself. Is that because to a mother a child seems way smaller than she ever was? Or is it because the world has moved on?

While we swam the airport currents from check-in to security to the gate (to coffee), I told my son the story of how I got lost in the Honolulu airport when I was 9 or 10. I remember the airport intercom sounding out "Will Sugarplum please report to the security desk. Will Sugarplum please report to the security desk?" The kind-hearted young airline employee who was helping me looked down at my face.

"Is that you?"


"I'm sorry."

Grandma will be around every corner on this trip.

One of my strongest sensory memories of traveling to Hawaii is the moment I step out of the airplane door to traverse the steps down. The air, so hot and wet, hits me like a wall and it takes me a second to figure out how to breathe in it rather than swim. And my grandparents waving at the gate, Grandma holding a handmade lei.