I remember very well, the events of that day in 2001, when our lives were changed forever. I remember how scared we were, wondering how many more planes would go down, or what would happen next. I remember sitting in line at the gas station, because my car was WAY below E, and being worried I would run out before I got to the pump -- all because people were panicked that gas prices would quadruple overnight.
I remember every day, even now, when I hear a plane fly overhead. I thank God that they've changed airline security, but always wonder if it is enough to keep us safe, when people are willing to put bombs in their shoes or their underwear. And I remember our first flight after 9/11 happened.
We were flying to Florida. Dan and I were going on a cruise just before Halloween, and the kids were going to divide their time between both sets of grandparents. It was the first time we flew together as a family, and everyone was incredulous. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked "aren't you AFRAID to fly right now" they'd ask. My response was always no. My theory was, if something happened to me, I wouldn't want my kids to be left alone. And if something happened to my kids, well, bury me right along with them, because I could not go on anyway. I figured that if someone bombed our plane, we'd all die together, and no one would be left alone.
Yeah, people thought I was weird. Heck, people still think I'm weird, but I'm ok with that.
So, in preparation for the flight, I called the airport. When I finally got hold of someone in security, I asked if they would allow my then 6 year old son to bring his blanket on the plane. Specifically, I asked if they would let him through security with it, because if we got to the airport and they confiscated it, we would all end up on CNN, with the headline "6 Year Old Succumbs to Blanket Separation Anxiety." Not taking this blanket was NOT an option. Well, the lady in security's response was "of COURSE he can bring his blanket," in a very condescending tone. "Well, I wasn't sure." "Why in the world would he not be allowed to take his blanket," she replied."
"Well, I didn't know, since it's a queen sized quilt." There was a pregnant pause.
"Well, I hardly think he could carry that," she said.
"Oh, he does quite fine with it, actually," I said, "but if they take it away from him at security, it could get very ugly and loud very quickly."
She still sounded like she thought I was stupid when I hung up the phone. But trust me, Seth lugged that huge quilt everywhere. So we went to the airport, checked in, and got on the plane. I was sitting in front of him and Dan, when suddenly, a child-sized shirt flew over the seat, landing in my lap. I turned around to see what the heck the kid was doing. There he was, topless, wrapped in his blanket. He looked at me, shrugged, and said "I was hot."
After the cruise to nowhere (there was a hurricane, but that's another story), we confirmed our flight home. We had to report to the airport 2 1/2 hours early -- remember, they were being really crazy about the security at the time -- so we went, the father in law dropped us off, and we got in line. When we finally got to the counter, the boy there -- named Mohammed, which sadly, gave me pause, but again, remember how it was at in those days -- informed us that the flight time had changed, and that we were about to miss our flight.
We took off at a full run, with three kids, trailing that queen sized quilt behind us all the way to the tram in the Orlando airport. After we jumped out of the tram, making sure that the quilt wasn't caught in the door, we ran to the gate and made it, just in time to check in before we took off.
We've flown several times since then, sometimes with the blanket, sometimes not. He takes it camping, on vacation, on overnights, and he plans to take it when he goes to Europe for 17 days next summer. And you know what? If he's found something that gives him comfort, why not, because we cannot stay entrenched in post 9/11 fear. We have moved forward, learning the lessons that come from that day, and know that we live in a safer world than ten years ago. There is comfort in simplicity. I think Seth's got it all figured out.