Fear of flying

Laura K. Silver is a trustee of the Jewish Light who writes a blog for the paper’s website (stljewishlight.com/laura).  She owns The Paper Trail of St. Louis, a financial and legal concierge service. Laura is married and the mother of two middle school age children.

By Laura K. Silver

I’m a fearful flyer. Anyone who has ever flown with me, save my children, knows this. For my kids, I always put on the brave face. I look at my iPad and pray. I look at my book and don’t read. Every single muscle in my already tense body is stressed at takeoff and when we land, I’m equally freaked out by every tip of the wing. Instead of showing my fear, I make myself useful by handing out gum. I carry enough gum for the entire plane.

Yes, I’ve flown all over the world, but I remain afraid. I’ve talked to professional pilots. I’ve talked to friends who fly planes. I’ve even spent a flight in a cockpit with a pilot to try to get over this fear, but I haven’t. Yes, I know that it defies logic. I know that cars are more dangerous. I know, I know, but yet, I can’t help it.

So you can imagine how much I love the idea of sending my two kids alone on a plane without me. And yet, I am doing it. Why?

Years ago, my husband and I coined the phrase “we are not porters” and we have tried to stick to it. We don’t carry other people’s baggage—their issues are their issues and we don’t weigh ourselves down with other people’s baggage.

In the same way, my kids are not porters. They don’t need to carry my baggage either. They are not afraid to fly, and unless and until they develop that fear on their own, I don’t intend to give them mine. The fear belongs to me alone and I will not burden them with it. I’ll just make sure they have plenty of gum.

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So how do I intend to make it through this event? I’m not exactly sure. I joked with several of my close friends that I really need to contact Michael Jackson’s doctor so he can help me that day. The way I see it, he can hook me up to that IV the minute they get on the plane and he can either kill me if G-d forbid anything happens to them or he can wake me up when it’s over. Win-win…unless I end up like Michael. On second thought, maybe that’s not the best option after all.

They say gum relieves stress. Sounds like I had better keep a pack for myself.