When I was in high school I flew by myself for the first time. I was going to visit my grandma and I had to make a few connecting flights. Because I was oh-so-responsible I stayed up far too late the night before and, as I sat in the terminal the next day, an announcement came on about a change in gates while I was fast asleep. I ended up missing my connecting flight and went into the bathroom to shed some tears. I remember feeling like such a small child, unable to even fly successfully by myself.
Eventually I got there, but I drank all kinds of coffee to prevent the same mistake on my return trip. I was so worried about getting myself from Point A to Point B that I couldn't think of anything else.
Four or five years later, when I got married, I was crippled by fear. I wasn't afraid of making the wrong choice. Instead, I feared the sacred responsibility of being a wife. I have never believed that women have to do certain jobs while men do others, but for us I knew I would be doing a majority of the cooking. On top of that I was stressed about having my first real adult job, and all the preceding applications and interviews.
I just wasn't sure I could take care of myself AND someone else - and while of course Nathan is 100% capable, I felt the weight of marriage in a deep way. I didn't know if I would succeed or fail.
Over 6 years later I am sitting on the last leg of a very long journey back home. My trip back to Slovenia was absurd. I left the hotel on a very early shuttle, spent 2 hours in line just to check a bag, still had to go through security and customs, and then my flight was delayed 3 hours. After landing in Philadelphia I had to go back through customs, bag check, and security. I had to get dinner and caffeine to stay awake. My next flight was delayed by a late crew arrival and a backup of airplanes trying to take off. Once I would land I had to pick up my bags, ride a shuttle to my car, and drive 3 hours home. Insanity.
Yet in the middle of my last flight I realized that none of this worried me. I made every connection, I had every document, and none of the travel mishaps were caused by me. I wasn't worried about taking care of myself. Before I left I made a pile of freezer meals for Nathan and our moms as they stayed with him to take care of our baby. As I sat anxiously in each airport waiting to leave, I was worried about nothing except getting home to my family.
I can take care of myself, even on international travel. I can take care of my husband even when I'm away. I have family to help when I'm not physically there to take care of my baby, but before I left I lined up instruction sheets, organized her clothing, set out a feeding schedule, and more. I took care of her, after only having her at home for a few weeks.
It's a beautiful thing to look at my 26-year-old self and see no fear in day to day living. I have made a vast number of mistakes, but somehow I am here on the other side of them with exactly what I need to take care of myself and my family. What an incredible feeling that maybe, just maybe, I've finally become an adult.