NORMAN — A funny thing happened a few weeks ago at the airport.
I was there to pick up what I assumed was a 13-year-old niece. As I was waiting for her to show up, I realized I was an equal amount of nervous and excited, as it was the first time she flew in an airplane by herself.
Knowing that her parents, her grandparents and other family members expected me to not only make sure she got off the plane safely but also get her back to my house in one piece was a huge responsibility and one I didn’t take lightly.
I remember the first time her parents left me in charge of her care. She was probably barely 1-year-old and we went to the park. I was a single, young aunt at the time who had hardly been around toddlers. There wasn’t much said, but I could tell everyone involved in the situation, myself included, was a bit apprehensive if I could pull it off.
And, ironically, that afternoon in the park was just that: an afternoon in the park. I brought her home well fed, tired and happy, which has set a precedent for our adventures. That’s the fun part about being the aunt. I don’t have to fret if she ate her vegetables or that she’s in bed on time. All I have to worry about is getting a happy report from the kid that she had a good time in my care.
So I stood there, in the airport baggage claim area waiting. Looking at the clock. Looking at the arrival times for flights. Looking back at the clock. I had my own little routine down that I’m sure was entertaining to the employees in the rental car booth.