My first flight wasn’t a very long flight but I still found it exciting. I believe that Patrick was about two, which meant that I had reached the ripe old age of six making David around eight. So this would have been the year…1992…maybe. We were heading out to Alberta from British Columbia to visit my grandparents and have a family get-together of sorts. My grandparents had purchased tickets for my mom and the youngest three kids, and while the thought of flying solo with three children seems a little daunting to me, it sure beats a twelve-hour trip with five.
We left first—my dad dropped us off at the airport. He would make the drive in our big, ugly orange Volkswagen kombi camper van with my older sisters. The flight was awesome, I thought. David and I got to sit somewhat “alone” while my mom and Patrick shared a separate row. We (David and I) got snacks and a little game package with a puzzle and a plastic sketchpad thing that “erased” when you lifted the plastic film on top so that you could draw a new picture. We also got those little pilot wing pins. We may or may not have gotten in a tiff over who got to sit in the window seat and who got to sit in the aisle seat (I’m quite sure we worked out a compromise where we switched half-way or something because I remember sitting in both seats).
I thought our flight paraphernalia was the coolest ever until my cousin Elizabeth arrived. Her family had made the trip from Utah and she had picked out a little Belle doll as her new toy for the trip (which is why I think it must have been 1992 since Beauty and the Beast premiered in November 1991 and I don’t remember it being a winter trip) and I was a little jealous of that.
I have very little memory of what exactly we were doing in Raymond, although I think it was a reunion year so that might have been it…I know that we were the first to arrive at my grandma’s house and the last to depart. And I thought that was cool for some reason. Also, that I was heartbroken about losing a ribbon rose from the front of my dress. And about Elizabeth’s Belle doll. And her quillow—it was silky with beautiful pink roses on it and I wanted it.
I don’t remember my grandma picking us up at the airport, but I do remember her dropping us off and saying goodbye at the gate (because this was back in the day when that type of thing was allowed). I was less excited to be leaving because a) the novelty of a plane ride had worn off somewhat and b) we were going home where there were no cousins to play with and c) I had lost the rose from the front of my dress and I really wanted to find it.
We waved goodbye until we couldn’t see her anymore, which for me was a long time because I was certain that I could see her for much longer than would have actually been humanly possible. It’s possible that I could have seen her from my seat while we were still at the gate but I remember waving to her from the sky when the cars were as small as ants and I’m quite sure that by then it was all my imagination.
Later I got a small package in the mail from my grandma. She had found the little rose from the front of my dress and mailed it back to me, all the way across the Rockies.
And that’s how I know Grandma loved me a lot.
She knew that I cared about that silly little rose, so she cared about it, too—enough to mail it to me. It was probably not even worth five cents and was easily replaceable, but she sent me the original in a package that cost much more than five cents to mail. And this after spending the money to bring us out to see her.
Grandmas are amazing.