But I remember at the outset, it was the most traumatic post-divorce experience for her and consequently for me. It started when she was 5 years old. I tried to travel with her each time because who really wants to put their little child on a flight with a bunch of strangers? But after a while, it became a bit costly and somewhat impractical to fly with her all the time.
As we got close to the airport and she looked and saw the airplanes, the crying would start. Then I had to fight back my own tears and tell her everything will be fine. At the airport we would check in and pay the unaccompanied minor fee (if we hadn’t already done so). Even though I wasn’t traveling, I’d have to get a gate pass to go with her to the gate.
On one occasion, with her crying and holding on to me and not wanting to go to the airline representative, the representative even said to me, “Sir, she doesn’t have to fly you know. You don’t have to put her on the flight.”
And how did I get her to stop crying? I promised her that each time she didn’t cry or get sad, I’d do something special for her – like take her to her favorite restaurant or get a new DVD that she really wants. Periodically she still did cry but I told her that’s quite ok to cry so she shouldn’t feel badly about that. It’s been a couple years since we’ve had any such issues though, thankfully.
If your kids have are traveling unaccompanied to see you this holiday season, have a great time with them. If they’re traveling away from you, enjoy yourself in their absence till they return. Just always let them know you’re thinking of them. And tell them, as I always tell my daughter when she travels, “Whether or not you are physically with me, you’re always in my heart and that’s all that matters.” Try saying something like this and watch how it brightens their day!