She skipped onto the plane without looking back. I watched the empty doorway for a few minutes and then went around to watch the plane as it loaded. As a parent of an Unaccompanied Minor you're supposed stay there until the plane leaves in case they need to unload. Or in case they decide to sit on the runway for six hours in which case I would run out and try to hand up bagels and juice through the pilots window (I know they can open it—I saw them do) for someone to take to Sophie or try to convince them to squeeze her back to me through the window (she's skinny).
But the plane finally did taxi down the runway, followed by me walking quickly through the terminal along side it. Never mind I was at quite a distance: We were moving along, still together in a way. The plane was eventually a little dot in the sky, and I was alone. Wondering what to do.
In anticipation of this moment I asked a friend a few days ago "What did we do before we had kids?" She and I were friends long before husbands and kids, and I know we had great lives. So great, in fact, that I saw having a child as an optional activity. I would have married someone who didn't want kids and been fine with it. Some of the best marriages I know by absolutely no coincidence do not involve children.
So what did we do in those great lives? My friend recalled that we worked out all the time. That's true, and we although we didn't realize it at the time, we looked great. We went to Point Reyes to hike in the light of the full moon. Stuff like that. I recalled that I had a subscription to The New Yorker. And I read piles of books. Now I read smaller piles of books and The New Yorker only in waiting rooms and here and there online. The minute Sophie leaves for college, I'm renewing.