As the son of a small-plane pilot, our son Danny has become a very good airline passenger, and eagerly looked forward to driving to LAX to fly east to see Grandma, his big sister Rachel who is studying at NYU and other relatives. He was happy with his pre-flight frap and enjoyed the cloudscape out the window during the five-hour journey. But almost as soon as the luggage was off the carousel, Danny began to say “home, plane, home, plane” meaning when are we getting back on the plane to go back to Los Angeles?
And although we’ve celebrated his 19th birthday, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, plus toured interesting museums, a zoo and other sights while away, he has kept saying “home, plane” every day, over and over again. This has happened on other trips as well, and drives us all nuts.
I think Danny’s strong desire to go home has two main components—one, is his love of flying around in a plane, looking down at the passing scenery and also watching his favorite movie DVDS while munching away on his cheese crackers. And secondly, he really misses his routine of school, swimming; the special needs confirmation class at Vista del Mar and Shabbat at Beth Am. With his limited verbal ability, he has trouble communicating his full range of emotions, and feels most secure when surrounded by familiar people and situations.
The most interesting part is that as soon as we land at LAX, I know that he will start recounting all the events of the past week, including all the holidays, songs and latkes consumed, plus the much-hated coat he had to wear. He will talk about all the animals in the NJ zoo, from the fine-feathered emu to the pair of cuddly brown bears taking a nap right next to the window. And he will have matured, grown in experience and flexibility.
So even though it’s not the most relaxing of vacations, we will keep taking Danny on planes in the future.