occasional evening or weekend together. He
hadn’t even lived with his dad for the previous
six years. So to suddenly lump us all together
could have been a dicey proposition—
especially since I’d never been in any kind of
parental role before, let alone a stepparent to
a teenager, with all that comes with that.
More than one book (see: Zen and the
Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) has been
written about fathers and sons bonding
through adventure. Fewer, I’m guessing,
about stepmoms-to-be forging a relationship
with teenage boys that way. But that’s kind of
what happened. Connor and I spent 10 days
together, flying the Cheetah from California
to Boston. It was not an easy trip. In fact, it
contained more double-black-diamond flying
than I’ve had in a long time, and Connor
didn’t get to experience a single example
of the smooth, glassy-air flights I’d waxed
Nevertheless, Connor learned a lot about
flying (and is now taking flying lessons),
and—more importantly—we both learned
a lot about each other. Even now, all these
months later, Connor will sometimes
repeat a comment, observation, or joke
from the trip—insider references only he
and I understand—and give me a sideways
smile as we laugh about it all over again. We
commiserate together about frozen throttle
cables, soft brake response, and how tough
the canopy is to open, sometimes.
Lane Wallace has been an aviation columnist, editor, and author for more than 20 years. More of her
writing can be found at her blog, www.NoMap-NoGuide-NoLimits.com, and at www.TheAtlantic.com.
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