Sage is way into pretending “airplane”.  Here’s how it goes. We weave around the furniture saying, “excuse me, pardon me, excuse me, pardon me” pretending that we are walking down the isle of a plane. Then she hands me some imaginary luggage and I pretend to hoist it into the overhead compartment. But I find that it is too heavy, and my legs slip out from under me, and I start to fall. And I grunt and whimper and then she helps me to lift that imaginary suitcase over my head. And we laugh. And then we sit in our imaginary seats. And we pretend to order apple juice and coffee and read the safety manual and then we lean back and say “cshhhhhhhhh”  as the pretend plane takes off.

Sometimes when we are playing imaginary plane I fall into my own imaginary world of worry and I find myself wondering what I would do if I were sitting next to a hijacker. What if I was the one next to the Christmas bomber or one of the 9/11 terrorists?

I have this fantasy that I would look him in the eyes with this really soft glance and smile ever so slightly and maybe even put my hand on his leg, so gently, like a mother who’s kid struck out and lost the game for the whole team.  And in my fantasy this terrorist hijacker suicide bomber would be like, “Oh, this lady is so nice. I never knew a lady could be so nice. I don’t want to be a terrorist hijacker anymore because this lady has shown me the wonder and joy of being human. And look she has a kid. I could never hurt a kid. I think I want to go back to grad school and become a teacher or human rights activist.”

I think that I need to have fantasies like this in order to tolerate the holy shit scariness of raising a child who is out there in the big scary world riding airplanes and driving in cars and saying hi to every stranger that she passes on the street. And the more Sage and I play airplane, the more I see her personality emerge through these games and pretend worlds, the more I need to cultivate my own imaginary world in which I am in total control and can protect her from anything.