I know longer know how to fly. The last time I boarded an airplane was over four years ago, when Hubby and I took Sophia to Lake Las Vegas for the weekend. This is a bizarre realization. We did a lot of traveling before we had children -- I was even a travel writer and did international trips -- and now, I find I have anxiety about heading to the airport by myself. My church is sending me to the MOPS International Convention in Orlando this Thursday,and originally I was so excited just for the novelty of getting on a plane; they could have flown me to Dallas/Fortworth and back in one day and I would have been thrilled.
But as I've been preparing, I realize I'm ill prepared! The rest of the world has been lamenting the changes in air travel, but I'm just now experiencing the irritation of paying to check bags and converting all my extremely necessary toiletries into federally approved bottles. I'm booking shuttles online, printing my tickets, and feeling totally out of my element. If I were taking both the kids for an 8-hour day at Disneyland it would be no problem. But this is daunting! It's making me realize how much I have checked out of the adult world.
I fear being seen by my children as obsolete and incompetent. I know some level of this is inevitable, especially through the teenage years. And I think my generation of mothers has it harder in this area because of the way technology has exploded and taken over the youth culture. My friends with middle-schoolers are fighting over buying itouch phones. In seven years, I can only imagine what the girls will be begging me for. It will certainly be a device I have no idea how to use.
I take comfort in the fact that I can't possibly be more clueless than my own mom (If you're reading this Nani, love you love you love you), who bought me a personal computer for college and shipped it up to me with all of the power and connecting cords missing. "I don't even know what you're talking about!" she wailed when I called her. It is for this reason that I joined facebook against my inclination, because I thought at the very least I need to know how to navigate a social web site, though the kids may be totally over that by the time they're 13.
What I didn't realize when Mom sent me the incomplete computer, and my kids may not realize either, is that it's largely the kids' fault if you fall out of touch with the world. I used to be a professional journalist for goodness sake (okay, a fluff journalist, but still...), and now I think the only time I have even watched "The Today Show" for bits of light news in the last six years were when Hubby and I were on vacation, and when I was in the hospital after giving birth to Livie. We have "Sesame Street" on here, every morning. I have a friend who's an online news junkie, but she isn't a quilter. I'm using my scant free time to be creative.
What with pediatrician appointments, reading parenting books and magazines, diaper changes, dishes, tantrum management, Kindergarten homework, Girl Scout paperwork and more, continuing your education as a stay-at-home mom takes major will and time management skills. I gave up my job to be here and don't regret it even a little bit, but it's alarming to think of the technical publishing skills I had that are -- in just six years -- practically useless now. I've got mad Mommy skills, but I can't help but mourn the slight loss of self.
In the movie "Hook," Tootles, a Lost Boy who came back to London and grew old, told an agent of Scotland Yard, "I've forgotten how to fly." The agent looks at him seriously and replies, "Well, one does." In the Peter Pan sense, I still know how to fly. As a stay-at-home mom, my sandcastle building, tree climbing, creative coloring, and ocean swimming skills are still in tact. And if my more adult aptitudes are slipping away from me and technology is passing me by, well, there will be time -- oh too soon -- when the kids are gone and I will be able to play catch up.