The confidence and competence needed to accomplish this milestone in her young life can only be learned by experience, and it has been our goal to teach these skills to our children through frequent travels since they were little. Letting them navigate through airports and train stations, read maps, ask locals for help, and gradually gain independence are some of the things we've tried to encourage.
That's not to say I wasn't worried about her flying alone! Much to our daughter's disapproval (and teenage eye-rolling) we requested a gate pass to accompany her to the plane. (Sidebar here: United Airlines would only give us one gate pass, although we were two parents escorting our flying minor. What's up with that?? Would it have been such a great security risk to allow us both to go?) There were
We had had to promise not to meet her at the gate upon her arrival home, and I was comfortable enough with that, but I had grave concerns over her solo navigation of the evil alien world of JFK airport. Hustlers, and swindlers, and New Yorkers, for God's sake! But one of the many advantages kids these days have over young travelers of my generation is cell phones. Getting lost in a crowd and meeting place confusion just doesn't exist anymore. My daughter texted her cousin as soon as the plane hit the tarmac in New York and they found each other literally within minutes. And within the same minute, we received the text, almost 3000 miles away, that we could exhale, our baby was safe.
|She's even mastered the long-arm self-portrait!|
They had such a fabulous time together. It's an experience my daughter will never forget. And might I just mention that you can read a first-hand account of their action-packed days in the Big Apple, because this big city cousin of ours just happens to be the author of the top-rated NYC blog, baby meets city. Part 1 of their adventures is posted already, part 2 will be coming soon. Great fun!