The thing I hated most about flying was leaving our children behind. I cried when I said goodbye, on and off on the way to the airport, at the airport and on the plane. We always left them with good, reliable friends, but that didn’t make it easier. They were small, but braver than I was.
During a panicky moment, thousands of feet up in the air, I asked Tony what would happen to the children if we died. That began a series of thoughts more turbulent than turbulence. Rig and Sue had verbally agreed to take care of them if we both died. I didn’t particularly like the idea that they would be taken to live in South Africa. Mussoorie was their home and that was where their family was. They hadn’t spent much time with my mom or my family and Betty would not have been able to keep them in New Zealand.
I got so worked up. Who would love them? Who would really understand them? Would they be taken away by the child welfare until Rig and Sue could prove their guardianship? What if they were split up and not ever allowed to see each other again? The thoughts and fears kept coming like waves; wave upon wave. No matter where we were on the journey, I just wanted to get home.
The craziest, most illogical thing was that I felt better when they were flying with us. If the plane crashed, at least they wouldn’t have to go through the pain of losing us. At least we would all go together. There was no thought of their individual destinies. No thought of God’s great plan for their lives. Every single thought was selfish, narrow and fear-filled.
At one point, every time we went away something bad happened. It was inevitable. The worst was when one of the kids got sick the day before we had to leave. It was never anything too serious and we knew they would be better in a day or two. Our tickets had been booked and we couldn’t cancel them. Leaving them with even the slightest fever was awful. Seeing their watery eyed, half-baked smiles when we kissed them goodbye was too much for me even though they were always strong and never begged us to stay.
When we were thousands of miles away we got calls telling us Jordan was up a ladder, refusing to climb down, had fractured his arm when he was catapulted off a jumping castle and the list went on. When we got home, the child-minders and children looked exhausted and frazzled, but alive. Jordan had a wild “spinster-phobia” look in his eyes. He couldn’t take one more minute of lots of females telling him what to do. Asha and Zoë always took his side, which got them in trouble with whoever was looking after them.
Dudley Daniel invited us to join his team at the peak of my flying paranoia. It was the hardest thing for me. Knowing we would have to leave the kids, sometimes three times a year, wasn’t my idea of fun. But, I did it, lowing as I went.