Oops, You Leave Tonight


It’s very interesting how your children’s personality seems to stay constant from their very early days to their adulthood. When Aidan was just a youngster it became clear that he was a creature of extreme comfort. He just loved to be at home doing his own thing. He never needed a lot of interaction with others. He loved to play his video games or just put together little Lego models. This behavior continued and even now when he returns home he loves to just chill out, watch movies, play video games, workout, enjoy a nice meal at a restaurant and just be low key. We also know that when Aidan is taken out of his comfort zone there is a severe negative reaction. He does not welcome the change and in many ways repulses at the sudden unexpected discomfort. When he was a child the unexpected arrival of a substitute teacher would make Aidan go into sudden despair and tears. It was very touching, but also very difficult to deal with.

The past few departures to Williston have been early morning flights from Edmonton. That has proven to be a poor choice on our part because Aidan settles in at home and having to rise up at 4 Am to get to the airport becomes a battle. Usually it starts with Aidan not getting more than an hour of sleep, then making sure he leaves all his packing undone and then the final part of forcing the boy out the door. There are no warm hugs good bye, just a boiling over of anger at having to leave his warm cozy confines of the basement.
This year we had it planned out that a late night red-eye flight would be perfect. It would give us the whole Saturday to get things ready, have a good meal and avoid the tumultuous departure. We knew it was going to be hard still, but at least we were going to have some preparation time to diffuse the time bomb of the departure.

That, of course, is not how it all worked out because on Friday evening at 8 PM, Tracey decided to do a check of Aidan’s flight information. She quickly realized that 00;55 departure meant Aidan was in fact leaving in 5 hours, not the next evening. She knew it was a late night flight, but mistakenly thought it was Saturday night, not Friday night. She then had to venture downstairs, as Aidan was just lying down to watch a movie and crash for the evening, and tell him he was leaving in a few hours. That led to Aidan scrambling around to get his wash done and get everything packed.

He was not happy. In fact he was distraught. It is so hard for him to leave home as it is and then to throw him a screwball like we did was very difficult. He did not want to go and he made it clear as the clock ticked to leave that he was NOT going back. I can totally understand what he was going through. I would have been pissed off too. But knowing Aidan’s personality this was the last thing he needed to hear. I unfortunately had to do the Dad thing and approach his reluctance to leave with very little compassion. It was time to leave and it had to be known that there was no more discussion about it. He got in the car and it was a quiet ride to Edmonton International Airport. The  hug was quick as I sensed his pain. It was just a crappy way to send him off for his senior year at Williston.

When Tracey and I arrived back home it was past midnight on September 12th , our 23rd anniversary. We had just finished an evening of arguing about the flight mistake and then went through the emotional turmoil of sending our middle child away to school. No one was celebrating anything. That entire night Tracey checked Aidan’s flight status to make sure he made his connections and all flights were on time. Aidan, of course, did not actually let us know he arrived okay until he was at Williston. Thankfully one of Aidan’s friends Snapchatted Aidan at school so I was able to see he was back in his room and that friend also sent a Snapchat letting us know that Aidan was actually happy to be back. Once I saw that Snapchat I felt at ease again. He was back, smiling and with is school mates. It was all good again.

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