Today we were in an airport, which is either the best or the worst place to see Rory’s and my mother daughter dynamic, depending on your perspective. I’m still thinking about the fact that I am at my worst with Rory when she doesn’t follow social cues, and there are a whole lot of social cues to airports. Even putting aside the weird ones (I don’t fault anyone for not realizing you have to take off your shoes), I’m left with a ton of material that I tried to keep in perspective. Do I really think that if, at 18, she decides she’s tired while traveling, she’ll lay down on the floor in the middle of the security line? Leave her rolling backpack smack at the end of the moving walkway while running off to loom at something interesting? Walk through a crowd of hurried adults as though there weren’t a single person there, bobbing and weaving and turning to walk backwards directly in front of people running for a flight?
The thing is, at some level I do. I am honestly afraid that Rory will never realize that people she doesn’t know remain people, whose toes should not be run over and who are apt to be angry if cut off in route to the bathroom. And I know that an airport is an exciting place where some slack should be cut. But we lead a busy, travel-filled life, and this is far from the only airport Rory’s ever been in. This was our third flight this year. We fly often enough that I will even fly with them solo (although happily I wasn’t). They are security pros and airport veterans, and Rory has been pulling that same wheely bag in front of the same frantic business travelers for two years (in fact, we brought it to her in China). We have talked about it until I am blue in the face. Before the airport. At the airport. We’ve practiced. We’ve discussed. And we’ve yet to go on a trip where at some point, I don’t take my eyes off her or stop nagging her for just long enough for some unsuspecting person to trip over her.
The airport is just daily life, intensified. She walks in front of people and then suddenly stops short at home, too, but there just isn’t as much scope for it. It all has its roots in the same thing, and my fears do, too. Rory has poor impulse control and a very narrow focus that barely extends past the tip of her nose, and she doesn’t pick up on social cues because she just doesn’t care. I hope she’ll come to, at least a little. I don’t think this is adoption so much as personality. At some point in life, her fixation of purpose will serve her well, but right now it mostly serves to make me crazy.
This airport thing marks both the beginning and end of vacation. It’s the end because we weren’t leaving, but coming home from ten days in France and Barcelona, and the beginning because now that I’m home, with my pictures and my notes and my fresh memory, I can relive it all via blog. I’ve already got posts written, trapped in the laptop that won’t connect to wireless anymore, and I hope to free them tomorrow, after a jet-lagged sleepy night. Now, though, I’m losing coherence wit every word typed and I may well fall asleep over this one. I’m hitting publish and shutting my eyes.