Airplanes and me

I have weird personal experiences on airplanes. Apparently they bring up emotions. First let me say I am not shy if that hasn’t been pick up somewhere in this blog. I am also not afraid or embarrassed for the show of emotion generally. I think I am an ugly crier though. I don’t like to cry, i guess no one does. For reasons I can’t quite explain, I am prone to tears on an airplane. Rarely when i am traveling with other people but solo, it happens frequently.

Today is a good example. I am working on a manuscript and winging my way to NYC for my first ever writer’s conference, hopeful for helpful knowledge that I can apply to what I want to do with myself, be a published author. While on the plane today, window seat (which is where it happens most that water works turn on) laptop up and iTunes playing. I have a playlist when i write that I developed when i participated in National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for short, in 2010. Music is a must for me. I have to have it. In my past I have been known to have an iPod playing all through the house in the sound system. It factors heavily in my drive time which is a lot. I like all kinds. Music triggers memories for many folks, me included. My first husband paid more attention to the instrumental, the melody but the words for me are big. My BFF Lori knows this and recently posted a clip on my Facebook wall from the movie with Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, Thief, where she is singing and moving “car dancing” to each song that comes on as he keeps trying to change the station. i do have a knack for learning and remembering the words of songs.

I love local music. When i was in Lubbock there was a band called Thrift Store Cowboys. They had a fiddle player name of Amanda Shires. Daniel Fluitt sings lead on a song called “Amanda” with haunting melodies that include her exceptional fiddling. This song came on while I was writing and I just started to cry. The lyrics go right to my heart.

“Do you smell that? the soothing scent or rain that follows me like boxcars on a train.

Do you feel that? the beating that’s my heart,that heart thats yours to do what you want, stop it or to start.”

The combo of music and plane ride. BAM! All the sudden, water works. I am so self-conscience enough to care about what I look like when I move to the music. First song in the playlist that came on was Rolling Stone’s Love Is Strong. I did not cry when that came on but i was moving along with the beat. Sometimes it cannot be helped but move to the music. Dance like no one is watching right? or move?

I started to cry, just the kind where tears well and roll down my face. Not wailing of course. When i would travel years ago when my children were much younger I would often cry for them when I thought of them while I was on the plane. Crazy.  Just thinking of them. Maybe because their father was gone already, maybe because I was the mom seemingly gone a lot and away from them so I felt guilty? Lonely for them I am sure played a part. They are still and always the best things I have done in this life. And some of my favorite people. I enjoy their company. Always have. As they move into the adults they are becoming before my eyes, I like them even more. We three have always had a good thing going. It has been us together forging ahead often in their lives. I have a huge sense of responsibility being their only biological living parent. No matter who comes along in their lives, I am still just the one left standing.

Or left flying.

My mom told me that when she and my dad traveled without us, she would be nervous and worried a little. She’s religious so “let go and let God” take that fear from you is her motto. But she admitted to still worrying. She didn’t want something to happen to them and us children be left behind. That was until I turned 18. While she still got a little nervous about flying and something happening, they unbeknownst to me, had named ME as guardian of my younger brothers. Brothers who were 16 and 12 when I was 18. That seems like a capital idea doesn’t it? College freshman in charge?

Anyway, back to the plane ride.

I tend to make a lot of notes, observations on plane rides, always have. Scribbling something, the conversations of people on the plane, thinking book scene idea! When I get in my head like that, it will go places I am not expecting even though after all this time, really, I should expect it. Something about music, the clouds, looking out the window, thinking of the people I love wherever they all are. It gets to me. They aren’t always sad tears actually. There have been tears of gratitude. Some of the ones today were for my dad, as I was writing some things about him. He died on Father’s Day in 2013.

(Thoughts of him can make me cry on the ground!)

It might sound strange but now I sorta jones for the solo plane ride and the cathartic cry. I know people see it, I have seen their reactions out of the corner of my eye. Not once has anyone asked if I am ok. Which is really OK. I can’t explain it, clearly.

After my children’s father died, I had a meeting for work in Florida. It would be about 6 weeks after his death following a car accident. We were all still stricken by this especially, new 9 year olds. My son was very upset when I said I was going and my mother, their “Cece” was going to take care of them while I was gone. My sweet boy was teary and said to me one night, “Promise me you’re going to come home.” At that moment I had two choices, I could promise, essentially lie about something I had very little control over like the airplane. Or tell the truth and not promise. So I replied, “I can’t promise you that I will come home because I am not in charge of all the situation. BUT I can promise that I will do everything in my power to come home to you and your sister.”  I said that I felt certain it would all be fine. He was not thrilled with the answer.

I didn’t have to go to the meeting, my company was great about it. But I was the breadwinner and provide for my family. I was going to have to go sometime and putting if off would make it worse. I knew it would suck to be gone (and it did). Luckily my best friend worked for the company and was my roommate for the meeting or I wouldn’t have survived it. I was a mess and of course the plane had delays and I missed the connection home and had to stay a night in Dallas. I talked the kids through it and arrived the next day intact.

You better believe I cried on that airplane trip coming and going, and in between when not called upon to be professional. That was probably the worst trip of crying I had. however the airplane crying struck way before that point.

Today it was music, the sky and clouds, perhaps the sadness of my life at home and uncertain road ahead, the missing of my college children. I don’t know.

Airplanes and me. Something weird happens in the sky. If you see a tall blonde lady looking out the window and dabbing her eyes. No worries. Think of it as a cleaning out the mind and heart house.


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