we are everywhere

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Last weekend, was tough at the airport. The storms on the east coast had a ripple effect here in Minneapolis. Flights were canceled. And some flights were overbooked for the next few days.

I work as a gate agent sending out the regional jets; 50 to 75 seaters. And I send the prop planes that have 34 seats. I send passengers to all parts of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and a a couple of cities in Canada. But also to Montana, Ohio, and some cities on the east coast.

I send flights to an east coast city that is the city in which my son spent most of his growing up years. I didn't know, of course, where he grew up until reunion.

For decades, I did not know if my son was dead or alive. And if he was alive, I had no idea of where in this great wide world he was growing up.

Occasionally at the airport, I am assigned to organize the flight to this city, board the passengers. and send the flight. And it is always triggering for me. The PSTD kind of triggering.

My anxiety shoots up and I can't work this flight without wondering if that middle age woman who looks like a teacher was his science teacher in high school. Or, if that one couple wainting so patiently, lives down the street from his old house. I wonder if the young man who's ID states he's a resident of the same city 'burb in which my son grew up, graduated from high school with him.

Working that flight really is difficult for me. However, when the flight is uncomplicated and easy, I have been able to desensitize myself enough so that I can successfully work it and send it out on time.

When last weekend was a huge mess at the airport, I was assigned the flight to city of my son's childhood. It was a bad situation. Oversold and no seats on any flights to send people on for 3 days. It is pretty hard to convince people to volunteer giving up their seats when there is no flight available for three days. It was all I could do to keep the triggers down and work the flight.

And there was a young girl, traveling as an unaccompanied minor who had a very hard time saying good bye to her dad at the gate. Parents and kids saying good bye is sometimes hard to watch while doing my job.

The flight eventually went. I got it out and had to try to get two people who were stuck in Minneapolis to this city, somehow. After about almost another hour working on it, we did get them rebooked.

So, the next day, while riding the shuttle back to the airport for work, I decided that I needed to help myself avoid such a triggering night by never working that city when the flight is oversold. I know I can work it when it is not oversold or weight restricted. I can successfully manage to keep anxiety at bay when it is a smooth flight to work. And I decided that whenever I am assigned to work that particular east coast city and it is oversold, I will ask for a different city or ask for another person to work it with me.

It was a decision for self care/preservation. I don't need to subject my body and mind to that kind of PSTD related stress.

I clocked in, checked my concourse assignment and headed back up to the B concourse, where I had worked the previous night. I picked up my flight assignment schedule, and saw that once again, I was assigned to this same city. Knowing it was probably oversold again, I checked. Just As I expected... Oversold with nothing available for 2 days.

So when I saw the coordinator, I told her that I needed to talk to her about my schedule.
I told her that I couldn't do that city when it was oversold. I would take another oversold flight or even an extra flight that night, but that I couldn't work that flight.

She wanted to know why. And I told her why. And I told her about how things were different in the 70's. And that single mothers were not supported. She said she understood that things were different, then.

She is also a young single mother to be. I think she is several years younger than my oldest son.
And I asked her if she had a lot of support. She said that she does. I am so relieved to hear that.

She also had a lot of questions about my reconnection with my son. The questions she asked made me wonder if she was adopted.

I am thinking that it was perhaps, "meant to be" that this young woman was my flight cord last Saturday night. And it was good that she heard what it was like years ago. I got a chance to tell her that maternity homes are making a comeback and marketed as a resort for young mothers, rather than the prison like maternity homes of decades past. Sadly, the adoption is the same goal for even the modern day institution. And she heard me say that I would never wish any mother to be unnecessarily separated from her child by adoption.

32 years later, I am still sad that I was oversold on adoption for my son. I didn't willingly sign the surrender papers, but I unwittingly and willingly walked into the lion's den of a center for "unwed mothers" in 1975.

I'll tell you what I am grateful for. I am grateful that this young mother to be has alot of support.
I am grateful I had a chance to tell her my story. I am grateful that I am getting healthier in my post surrender recovery and can be proactive in reducing one big triggering situation that is adoption related.

If this young mom to be is an adoptee, I do hope that she feels comfortable enough to ask me more about reunion and searching.

And to my first born son, I send a cargo full of love on the next flight out to the city where you are now! Even if that flight is oversold and weight restricted, I know there is plenty of room for all my good thoughts and wishes to send to you.