I have a fear of flying. For the most part I am incredibly rational but planes do something to me I can't quite explain. Once up in the air I'm generally okay. At that point, I no longer have a choice about being on the plane and therefore there seems to be very little point worrying too much. Don't get me wrong, I never actually relax, I'm just not screaming 'let me off'.
We didn't fly much as a family when I was younger but there was the odd trip to Portugal with my Dad. I don't remember being afraid. I do remember the first time I was a bit apprehensive. I was 18 and going to Ibiza with my boyfriend (the quiet side of the island for those who might envisage me raving). I was aware that I didn't have an adult with me and that made me a bit nervous. But it was fine.
My first major flight was to Australia to visit my Mum when I was 21 (different boyfriend) and I was so excited that I don't think I was scared. I flew out again when I was 24, on my own this time. On the way out I felt quite intrepid - I'm not reknowned for doing things on my own and I was proud of myself. But I was visiting specifically to see my Step Dad who was on his last legs (aged 60 but a diabetic who didn't really look after himself). I had a lovely 10 days. My Step Dad was actually really well and you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a false alarm; that he wasn't dying.
They took me to the airport and we said goodbye. I've never liked goodbyes (since Mum emmigrated when I was 14) but this was really bad, as you'd expect I guess. My Mum doesn't really do tears (not openly anyway) so I pulled myself together and that was that. I boarded the flight feeling so sick and so scared. I think it was just all too much emotionally. Saying Goodbye to Mum everytime I see her is always tough for me - a lot of sadness and some anger, the feeling of abandonment all over again. But with the added knowledge that I wouldn't see my Step Dad again, it was a tough flight.
I don't know if this is why I'm scared of flying but I know that from that point on, I've dreaded flying. I have flown but never willingly and it really takes the edge off holidays. Monkey was a well travelled little boy - Italy, Spain, South Africa and Scotland. And I was much better for having the distraction of a Monkey. But the last time we flew (to Scotland), there had been an incident on the runway (turned out to be reasonably minor) and the flight home was delayed. I persuaded my husband to hire a car and we drove from Edinburgh to Northampton.
I haven't flown since. It would be helpful for work sometimes but I don't. The recent volcanic ash cloud was a godsend for me (couldn't have got to Belfast if I'd wanted to).
But here's the thing. I'm going to Mexico for my nieces wedding in a few weeks. It will be the first time Pickle and Wotist have flown. And I need to be brave. I promise to be brave. I will not show my irrational fear. I will make it part of an exciting holiday for the boys. And at no point will I refer to the contraption we are flying in as a 'scaryplane'.