Baby on Board

Baby on Board

The day we had anticipated for so long was finally here. For months our daughter had been going through all the steps to make her dream become reality. Although I saw it approaching as she completed each step, I was still surprised that our baby had become such a confident young woman.

When I wrote Wings I had no idea how large Margaret’s would be. What happened to my little girl who was always so quiet and shy? Something had happened to her in her college years as her wings unfurled and she began to have new experiences, and those experiences brought new dreams and goals.

In her Junior year at JBU she had the opportunity to study abroad and she chose to go to Ireland, the home of some of her ancestors. I couldn’t believe that she had the courage to go so far from home. From me. I prayed fervently for her safety. It’s a weird feeling to know that she would be so far away, out of reach for her father and I to help her.

She had inherited some of the characteristics from her Irish ancestors. With fair skin and red hair, she looked like a native. In fact, during her first flight there she visited with a couple of fellow passengers and as they landed in Ireland they commented, “you must be glad to get home!” 

She loved it and while there, staying at the JBU manor, she learned about Queen’s University and the possibility of going to graduate school there took root. Goal-setting had emerged as one of her strengths and she started to research what would be required of her and set the goals that she would reach steadily one by one as this day grew closer.

I didn’t have much experience with traveling abroad. Any traveling we’d done had been arranged by my husband or his former company. I let her figure it all out. I thought it was important that she be the one to do that since we wouldn’t be around to help.

Our short trip to the airport in 100 degree heat went smoother than anticipated as Houston’s Sunday afternoon traffic was light. The airport was not as chaotic as I’d imagined, either. Scott pulled up at the terminal where he unloaded Margaret’s hefty pink suitcase and gave her a hug goodbye. It was a short walk inside to her airline’s check-in.

“You can wait here.”

At one time that might have been me saying that to Margaret, but now it was my turn as she left me about 200 ft from the check in counter. She wanted to do this on her own so I watched from a distance hoping that everything would go smoothly. All of her planning and research were rewarded with a smooth check in.

Not allowed any further, I watched from a distance as she went though security, not wanting to leave until I knew she’d made it through. Finally, she re-emerged and waved as the escalator took her up towards her gate.

There was nothing else left for her dad and I to do but to continue on our way.

Did we really just do that? We left our daughter alone at the international airport not knowing when we’d see her again. 

Was it too late to arrange for a military escort?

She probably wouldn’t like the title of this post, but we mamas know that our babies are always our babies, no matter how old they are, where they go, or what they do. 

Could I just stick this sign on real quick?

I had been praying about this day for months. Any time I felt anxiety creeping in I prayed and asked God to be in control.

The day she left I felt at peace, I had asked for His hand to be under her plane getting it safely to its destination. God answered abundantly in ways I didn’t think to ask: The airport was not crowded, but rather it was almost as if He had cleared it out for us. She didn’t even have to wait in line at check in and then she was informed that the plane wasn’t full and she got to choose her seat. Security didn’t take very long, either. Then when she boarded, she had the whole row to herself. Her plane took off earlier than scheduled. 

Everything went as planned and she arrived safely in Ireland. I felt so reassured from all of that and imagined the rest of her year there going as smoothly. 

No, I wasn’t able to get the military escort, but what we got was even better. Margaret had a Heavenly escort. Watch out, everybody! My baby’s on board!


  1. Carla Janiece Gardiner

    Oh Michelle I love this whole post. Your take on your daughter’s growing and leaving is so encouraging…I wish I had had that outlook when my daughter left to live in Ireland years ago. I’m so grateful that your daughter’s trip went well, she arrived safely. Hugs momma…yep, they will always be our babies.

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