Lessons From My Tiny Teacher: Sometimes We Go It Alone
One thing most moms can agree on: your little one drives you up a wall! Another absolute we might all acknowledge is these little annoying, imaginative, curious creatures really can teach (or at the very least remind) us of a few fundamental truths. You know, like the familiar, but oft-forgotten “treat others the way you want to be treated” or the foundational “sharing is caring.”
We all have those hilarious, infuriating, enlightening (or all of the above) moments with our kiddos that remind us of these lessons we were taught way back in the stone age when we were little tikes. Here, I share with you teachable moments brought to you by Matthew, my feisty, gutsy, spunky tot who’s taught me a thing or two since he came kicking and screaming into my life! Enjoy, but more importantly, take note.
This week my two-year-old reminded me that sometimes we go it alone.
I’ve been on eight flights in four weeks. The month of June has been quite a hectic one for me. I’ve had photo shoots to attend, a vacation, a conference to speak at and another work obligation to attend. I’ve been on the move.
And normally I’ve made my flights with only minutes to spare—I even missed one on my way to the Dominican. But my last flight was different. I arrived at the airport and claimed a seat at my gate with an hour to spare until my boarding time. This was a mistake on my end, as I hate waiting for anything (I’m working on my patience). I thought my flight left at 7:00 a.m., but as it turned out it wasn’t scheduled to leave until 7:45 a.m. And as we all know, nothing in life happens by accident.
As I sat at my gate contemplating what I’d do to occupy my time—Sleep? Read? Listen to music?—I did what most people do when they’re in a space occupied my hundreds of strangers…I began people watching. And among the dozens of travelers in the bustling terminal was a young boy, maybe 10 or 11, walking with a uniformed worker who was carrying a boarding pass.
I automatically knew the young boy was a UM (airport jargon for unaccompanied minor)…in other words…mommy and daddy weren’t traveling with him. I knew this because for many years I was a UM. As I traveled back and forth from Kentucky to New York to visit my father, I would rush through the airport with workers who treated me like their own until I was finally in my seat and on my way. And as I sat looking at this boy I went back to those days.
I then thought about how I was now a 20-something year old mother of a young boy who could potentially be making the same journey. His father and I are no longer together and neither of us are from the city in which we currently reside, so who’s to say we’ll be there forever. I thought about my son having to make that journey through the airport. Alone. With a stranger. And I thought about how much guilt and sadness I might feel. But I also thought about how my boy will be elated to travel and how, despite how much I might want to hold his hand through every life journey, sometimes he will have to travel the road alone and explore life without mommy’s physical presence. And it is through these solo endeavors that he’ll learn the most!