I've written here many times about how much I love traveling alone on a business trip and how wonderful and quiet it is in a hotel room. It's nice to read and rest and have that time to myself, but what I absolutely loathe about traveling alone is the flying.
There's an irrational fear that takes over me just before the plane takes off. My heart starts to race and I shut my eyes tightly, like a frustrated baby in that moment before a desperate shriek. But I can't scream. I have no outlet for the anxiety that grips me in that moment. Then with an unnatural, awkward lift, the plane is in the air, we're on our way, and I'm fine.
I'm not sure exactly why I have this crazy fear of take-off, but I do have a general idea. It's probably a mix of statistics and knowledge of what's at stake. Most plane travel is extremely safe. It's probably safer than driving, but if a plane is going to crash, it's usually soon after take-off. And what's at stake in that event, when I'm traveling alone, is the thought, just the thought, of my family without me. That's what's at stake in my mind on the plane.
So that's why I have a little ritual that I do that makes me feel better, however hokey it is. In that tight-eyed moment as the engines are roaring, I visualize every member of my family. I'm embracing DG. I'm swinging T1 around me. I'm watching T2 dance as I smile. I picture my parents and my brother, my sister, nieces and nephews. It's calming. The tightness lessens; My hands don't grip quite as hard. I'm okay and then it's over.
I am grateful to have this little thing that I do. I can fly and know that I'll be home to love up my little family soon enough.