The Missing Passenger
Living in New Mexico has its highlights. One of my favorite places since childhood is the Rio Grande Gorge. For those who never visited NM, it is our own Grand Canyon, a natural phenomenon that will take your breath away. When I had my first child, I couldn’t wait to take her on a balloon ride. But then I got pregnant again, so we had to wait. When my second child turned two, we felt it was a good age for him to enjoy it, so we took both children for a balloon trip around and down the canyon.
It was a perfect day with a clear sky. We took off a bit before sunrise with both kids bundled up for the flight. My son had his favorite llama puppet with him–we normally have a little leash attached to his hand so he doesn’t lose it. For safety reasons we had to leave the leash on the ground, but I tucked his puppet under his jacket while he was still asleep.
About twenty minutes into the flight, my son woke up, and the first thing he asked for was his puppet. I smiled and reached under his jacket for it but it wasn’t there. We looked everywhere in the balloon but it was nowhere to be found–it must have fallen out while we were boarding. He’d been crying hysterically and wouldn’t calm down until my husband asked our pilot if he could turn back. There were four other people on board, but a crying tot didn’t make the flight very enjoyable either.
We turned around. We kept telling him that we were going to get his buddy and that calmed him down so we could at least enjoy the last 20 minutes. Once we left the balloon and it took off again without us, it didn’t take us long to find the little puppet nearby on the ground. My son was the happiest we have ever seen him, and although we had just spent about $600 on a short balloon ride, we were a happy family again and spent the rest of the day hiking around.
The lesson from our story: If your child has a beloved toy that he is attached to, it might be wise to pay as much attention to the toy as you do to your child while traveling to avoid unnecessary stressful incidents like the one we experienced.
Happy and safe travels!