I left my children in the UK last week when I came back to Bangkok. I wasn’t being careless – it was all arranged. Auntie L was looking after them and taking them to the airport where British Airways staff were on standby to escort my two children through immigration, security and all that stuff.
I was rather alarmed when I checked on them by phone to discover that just that day they’d been for a long walk in the forest with the dog and a picnic, been bowling and out for a meal. Further questioning revealed that ice skating, horse-riding, two cinema trips and a cousin’s birthday were also in the offing.
Oh dear, I thought, they won’t want to come home.
Mmmmm, home: have they just been home or will coming back to Bangkok constitute home? What if they decide they would rather stay there?
I still get a buzz of excitement at airports (despite being on eight flights myself in the last eight weeks!) and as I stood in the arrivals hall, I wondered what sort of a state the children would be in. Big one, Son, likes to stay up all night and watch movies and with no mum on board to tell him not to, well, he probably will, won’t he? Little one, Daughter, gets anxiety tummy ache when flying with mum, so how will she cope without me?
Two wayworn little creatures (actually one was hulking) came through into the arrivals hall and flew over to say hello (well, one flew over; the other – Hulk - ambled). They were very excited to have traveled on their own. They waited in a special ‘unaccompanied minors’ lounge, were whipped to the fronts of lines, had x-ray machines opened for them, got a buggy (Oh my god, the excitement) to the gate. Daughter got anxiety tummy ache all the way here and sat in the staff area with a hot water bottle. She wouldn’t eat and they tried to tempt her with treats, including soup from first class (oh dear, that’s a tummy ache WELL worth having isn’t it?)
'It's lovely to be home' they said 'but we never want to travel with parents again, thank you.'