My parents divorced by the time I was 8 moths old and my brother 4 years. I’m sure many others know the struggles of growing up in a life such as this.
For me, I believe this defined who and what I became as an adult. My parents, of course, would say, “just get over it already”(they tend to go the negative route), but I don’t think they truly understand what it was like for such small children to be put on a plane alone,, fly across the country and the impact it created for my growth into adulthood.
My father lived in California and my mother lived in Wisconsin. At least twice a year we would make this long and adventurous journey to a long awaited hug from the other parent. We were told how to act and were dressed in our Sunday best. Most of the time we arrived at the airport before or after the rush of people hours before our flight since my father was a pilot and we flew “stand- by”. We would patiently wait to be called when two available seats were available which sometimes took a full day, especially around the holiday season.
Now for my brother and I this was our life
Our first flight alone was when I was 3 years old. Can you imagine sending your two small children on a plane alone? I cannot.. We were the definition of “wild kids”, but the moment we stepped into that airport we instantly turned into mini adults. In doing this something within me changed. I learned how to switch off my emotions and become someone else. My imagination would run wild with all the new things and situations I got to witness. Our favorite place to have a long layover was Las Vegas. We would ride the clear glass elevators up and down looking and listening at all the loud and colorfulness around us. This was magic for me.
The traveling was one thing but the emotions of a constant inevitable”goodbye” at the end of the trip was heartbreaking. Getting in that last big bear hug from my father knowing I wouldn’t see him again for a few months truly did a number on me. The trip home was always a somber one, and going home to a family who we thought saw us more as a burden than joy didn’t help. My brother and I felt we never truly belonged anywhere. When we were together….That was my home no matter what our physical location was.
So while we traveled alone, together, I felt whole if only for a day, because we had a freedom of magic. To be anyone we wanted just as long as we didn’t cause a problem to the adults around us. We learned to adapt to any situation on a moments notice. This is how my people pleasing started. Keeping all the adults who were around us happy because in their happiness we knew we were safe. We learned to observe and read people’s emotions from just the look on their faces.
I’ve read of many sibling bonds and how they impacted one’s life. For me…My brother was apart of me. We didn’t need words to communicate, we still don’t. We always sensed what the other was feeling right to the core. Now that I am an adult with my own family I have yet to understand just how different my up bring was. Some days I feel I have a psychological advantage and other days I feel I am psychologically flawed. Yet the Magic of my memories and experiences are still flowing through me as if it were yesterday.
I have always felt I grew up on an airplane, a home that overlooked the whole world. A home of freedom and magic. A place of protection, anticipation, and sadness.A place where anything is possible and I among the clouds felt at peace.