Secure Your Mask Before Assisting Others

We were returning home from a holiday. I have never been very fearful of flying until I gave birth to my daughter. We travel quite a bit with her. She has been on at least 15 flights in her first 20 months of life. She has a passport and has flown internationally a few times. We love to travel and make every moment as fun as possible. Until the eve of my latest flight, I have kept the fear I harbor silent even from my husband.

Since her arrival, I have been a secret wreck inside the day before and morning of every flight. I pray. I believe in God, a universal force of spiritual wonder, connection and love. I give thanks and ask for safety. I board every flight with my prayer beads given to me by a Tibetan Buddhist Monk, say an our father, sing some Marley, bargain a bit and breathe thank you with every breath.

Recently my daughter and I were visiting my parents and my husband was not traveling with us. The day before our homecoming I was on edge. I was having difficulty processing information, feeling at ease and being centered. I was very cross with my husband earlier in the evening over the phone. I do have to say that he was a wee bit out of line but I can acknowledge that I reacted in a way that made things more tense. Before I went to sleep, I called him back not to say good night but to say, I am scared. I just said ” I am terrified to fly with my baby. I began to cry but as soon as I said it I felt released. Quite quickly my perspective shifted to include the fact that it is perfectly reasonable to be a little nervous flying but I was exacerbating it by holding that fear in and letting it fester and project elsewhere.

I felt so vulnerable in the seconds that ticked between my confession and his response. By saying it out loud I was making my fear real to someone other than me. This was scary in itself. I began to reveal to him that I every single flight we have taken I have been almost paralyzed with fear; afraid we will crash or die.

He didn’t tell me it was silly (which is what I expected). He didn’t tell me I was being crazy and he didn’t give into it and fuel my anxiety. He let me know that I will be alright and he is excited to see me. He let me know I am loved and our little girl is magical. He let me have my emotions but gave me a solid hand to hold.Getting that admission out made me feel better. Even when I prayed I felt empowered. I didnt feel desperate or secretive. I felt giddy in my fear. Strength comes from love.

On all of our flights taken with my daughter, she is usually sleeping or playing. She says “Weeeeeee” and giggles when we hit turbulence. She makes friends with those around her and says please and thank you to the attendants. She has absolute faith in her safety, her love and her Mummy. I am humbled by her spirit. I am motivated to move forward in life and live every moment in love.

A dear friend of mine was so insightful many months ago. We were having a really deep chat about God, Life, Love, Parenting and success vs. failure. Heavy stuff for a lunch break. I was in a moment of floundering doubt. He all of a sudden said, “Have you ever been on a plane? The attendants give you the safety instructions and they are very clear when they say that your mask will drop down. Secure your mask before assisting others. Even your baby must come second in that moment or you as a team don’t succeed.” He paused and held my hand and said again “Secure your mask before assisting others.”

Being honest with myself and my family about where I am emotionally is another way of validating my importance to our team. I became stronger in allowing myself to feel weak. Because of this I do feel more prepared to guide this little blessing, my daughter.

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