Major Woes On Minor Travels

Make sure you put your passport and boarding pass back in the bag, called out their father. Take your belt off and place it on a tray, said I. Raise your hands while they scan you, said their father. Like this, said I, standing with my hands spread out like Jesus the saviour.

Are you both travelling with them?, asked the security guard. No, we replied in unison. The boys are travelling on their own. Then you must, continued the guard pointing to a line on the floor, stand behind it. We stepped back duly and continued to call out instructions on mute.

Our children seemed to know what to do and paid us no heed. After they had collected their hand baggage, they waved perfunctorily at us in response to my noisy flying kisses in their direction. Perhaps they wanted to get away from their embarrassing mother, my boys quickly headed for the departure gates.

But, but they haven't had anything to eat yet, I blubbed. If they go to the gates now, won't they be waiting endlessly? Why aren't they going to a restaurant? Shall we call them and tell them that they are going to be hungry if they don't eat now? Should I have packed something instead? But would they have allowed it through security?

Let's just go already, said my husband, steering me away from the security gate. Wait, I resisted. We can still see them, I said pointing to a rapidly receding speck scaling an escalator. It wasn't until after they had disappeared from my view I realised how seamlessly I had turned into my parents and my children were essaying the role that was once mine.

Not long thereafter there was a call from my son's mobile. I answered but on the other end was the Bundespolizei. I panicked and briefly wondered if my children wouldn't be allowed to travel after all. So may be we can all go back home together and I won't have to worry so incessantly over the next few days that they are going to be away. But the police were only calling to ensure that I had indeed given my minors permission to travel on their own and that they weren't running away.

I wanted to stay back in the airport a little longer until after the flight had departed but I was talked out of it. There will be many more sweet partings from my children in the years to come (almost always involving them waving goodbye to me and not the other way round) but I will take one departure at a time. Don't think I can handle more than that.