We spent about an hour last night talking Rebecca away from an emotional meltdown. We were talking about our plans to fly to Michigan for Christmas so Grandmommy and Granddaddy can finally have their big party we had to cancel last month due to health concerns. Rebecca was adamant she was not going on the airplane, even if it meant missing her grandparents’ party.
Last time we went through the Detroit airport, she had her first encounter with “the blower,” the newfangled chemical sniffing device you pass through before going through the metal detector. Rebecca has never liked sudden loud noises, and going through the blower was just strange enough that it made her agitated. She had to go through it again because she moved too much the first time and they had to repeat the scan. (Did I mention that Rebecca is five?)
We went around and around with her until Connie was finally able to coax it out of her that she was afraid the airport guards would find “bad things” when the blower sniffed her and that they would not let her get on the airplane. So it wasn’t just that the blower was unpleasant (she told us it was as bad as getting a shot), but the threat it represented: separation from her parents, being stranded in an airport, and getting in big, big trouble with people in uniforms.
We reassured her that there was no way any of that could happen. We would not be carrying bad things on the plane, and even if the blower thought she had something bad and they had to do it again, she had nothing to be afraid of because she is a good girl. The blower is only to keep people from bringing things on the plan that could hurt others, and we don’t have anything like that!
Now the crisis is averted and my little girl can go back to looking forward to the fun time she can have with Grandmommy and Granddaddy in Michigan at Christmas. For my part, I’m still a bit angry.
I’m angry that airport security guards, bending over backwards not to be accused of “profiling,” end up subjecting five-year-olds to such anguish. (I’m also certain that the next time some lunatic blows up an abortion clinic no one will say a word about his religious beliefs. Aren’t you?)
I’m angry that the jihadists’ track record of infecting their children with hatred and involving them in their atrocities makes it reasonable to suspect a five-year-old of carrying explosives and taking due precautions. (How can anybody strap a bomb on their babies? TSA, your valiant effort at political correctness has succeeded in reminding me of the vile depths to which our enemies will sink.)
I’m angry that Rebecca has to know so young that there are evil people in the world who want to blow up airplanes. She has never heard Connie or me say words like “terrorist” or “jihad.” She doesn’t know who Osama bin Laden is. But she knows there are worse things in the world than fighting on the playground, pushing in line, or calling people names.
I’m angry, but I’ll get over it. I’ll keep on trying to make Rebecca’s world as safe as it can possibly be. I’ll keep on responding to her concerns and fears as honestly as I can.
And I’ll keep on praying for peace.