I’m leaving for the West coast today. I’m taking three of my daughters with me. I would say that I’m excited, but I have to get through the TSA checkpoint before I even indulge in latent feelings of glee.
Last year, when we matched wits with the TSA agents, it seemed to go well enough. My youngest daughter was somewhat terrified of the experience. I decided that my strategy would be to play it cool the entire time. No rush. Just give gentle instructions.
“No worries, honey. Take your shoes off. That’s right. Place them in that bin. Put your backpack in there…” While most people would not be able to decipher any of her behaviors now, my youngest is on the autism spectrum. Flying for the first time activated her, and she struggled with perseveration, rigidity, anxiety, and clinginess in ways she had not for a long time. She had practically wrapped herself around my leg like a juvenile koala bear.
Meanwhile my oldest daughter, the college student, was leading the other girls through the TSA like Winston Churchill! Her commanding presence and sharp instructional voice were heeded by every single person in line–even the other people around us. People just seem to follow her. She is a natural leader, and I don’t say that like a proud parent. It is just a fact. The first time I put her in a room full of toddlers she started herding them like sheep, and they didn’t seem to mind!
By the time I got myself and my youngest daughter through the checkpoint, a TSA agent approached us and said, “Hey, your mother is waiting for you over there.”
My daughter and I looked at each other quizzically and then at the TSA agent.
“Our mother?” We looked around in confusion.
“Yeah, your mom. She’s over there. She’s waiting for you with your sisters.” She pointed to my oldest daughter standing with her hands on her hips.
I felt confused. Clearly, that person is not my mom. I’m the mom.
“Uh…she isn’t my mom. I’m the mom. This is my daughter right here, and that is my oldest daughter,” I said stifling a laugh.
The TSA agent looked at us both. Now, she looked confused. She then asked, “Are you sure?”
Am I sure?!
“I’m pretty sure,” I clarified.
She gave me the once-over, shrugged, and walked away. My youngest daughter could not wait to tell her oldest sister about this “mix-up” in our identities, and my oldest daughter was called “Mother” for the duration of our trip. It is a story that she will never live down–that time that the TSA Agent thought she was my mom.
I share this story because 1) it’s funny and 2) it’s reflective of the stress of getting out there and doing. There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t do what you want to do. Why you shouldn’t start building a life that you want to live. I know this.
Alfred D’Souza said this:
For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time to still be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
The obstacles will never go away. Real life will always be real life. Unfinished business will always remained unfinished. There will always be debts.
If that is truly the case, then…why not get started? I’m not being inspirational. I’m asking an honest question.
If not now, then when? As I oft say, it is a question worth considering.
With that final question, I bid you a lovely two weeks. I’m now off to face off with the TSA.
Shalom to you…xoxo