Saturday, April 16, 2011

Two Airports (end of a series)

Jody and I agreed to meet my daughter at O'hare International Airport, where she and a group of her graduating class were bound to take off for their next duty stations.  She was supposed to arrive there at 3am, so me and Jody decided to be there before she arrived.  O'hare is huge, confusing, and we wanted to make sure we had our ducks in a row so we wouldn't miss her.  We hardly slept at all.

My daughter finally arrived with her group, and we spent the next 8 hours with her at the airport before her flight showed up to whisk her off again.  Since we were family, the airline gave us a pass to be able to go to the gate with my daughter, which we thought seriously rocked.  Until, that is, the security check point, where Jody once again had to strip down to basics, mumbling about all he had to put in the trays, swearing he'd remember to dress differently when we left later that day for our own departure from Milwaukee. 

We finally made it through, and decided to have a bit to eat for breakfast, so we stopped by Dunkin' Donuts on the way to my daughter's gate.  The lack of sleep for all of us was beginning to take its toll, so conversation was sparse.  That morning, I think it was just good enough to be together.

When we were done we continued to make our way to my daughter's departure gate, and noticed little twisters painted above the bathroom entrances.  We assumed it meant everyone was to crowd into a bathroom for shelter in case of a tornado.  The thought of it was like some foreign custom, us being from an area where we don't have to worry about twisters.  We didn't particularly like the idea of being cooped up in a bathroom with a whole bunch of people, and hoped for no tornadoes.

My daughter needed to find an outlet to plug in her new cell phone, so when we got to her gate we were delighted to find a little area against the wall made just for the purpose of plugging in cell phones, computers, etc., with built in desk areas and chairs just in case.  We thought that was a pretty cool novelty, us being country folk like we were, inexperienced with the new techy stuff in the world.  The two other people seated there wore jaded expressions viewing our delight like we were noobs just comin' in from some backwoods.  My daughter and I decided to have a bit of fun with their attitude while Jody put his hat over his eyes and pretended to snooze.  Slap happy as we felt from lack of sleep we were soon practically rolling in fits of laughter. 

After my daughter's cell phone was charged up, we found seats closer to the gate with her seated in the middle of me and Jody.  We snoozed, talked a bit, snoozed some more, until her flight was called, and we said our tearful goodbyes.  The thing I remember most of all about our time together in that airport is the love that surrounded us, almost like all three of us sat in its quiet, soothing embrace for those hours before she had to go.  I don't quite have the words for it.  I only know it's presence enfolded us, and we were peaceful for a time, in the moment with each other, and it was good.

Another good thing we now had that we didn't have before was instant contact with each other.  My daughter now had a cell phone on her, and she certainly knew how to use it.  She began texting immediately, as soon as she was seated on the airplane.  No more waiting for snail mail to hear from her.  Even us country folk from the wild west love modern technology.

When Jody and I got back to our hotel rooms we decided to take a short nap before heading out to Milwaukee to catch our own flight home.  When I met up with Jody a little while later I took one look at him and laughed out loud.  I told him I was not going to be seen with him.  He laughed as we got in the car and headed to the airport.  As soon as we got out of the rental car to turn it in, the looks started.  Being aware of them, Jody laughed, and asked me to take a picture of him with his phone so he could send it to his wife.  I couldn't resist whipping out my own camera, and taking a picture as he sat texting my daughter.  Then we thought of a pose for him to do, the famous cowboy silhouette, but this time in shorts, slippers, white socks and t-shirt.  Oh yeah, sexy cowboy!  We laughed and laughed as he did one pose after another.  I couldn't wait to send them to my daughter.

The looks he received from others was priceless, and ranged from sneaked side glances with giggles to bold looks of disbelief.  Why people cared is beyond me, but Jody and I both found it highly amusing and entertaining.  I think it was the cowboy hat.  He behaved lackadaisical, playing the part to perfection to match his attire.  When we got to security, he was happy to already be dressed down to basics, which was his entire reason for being in his get-up.  His plan was a success, and he slept easily, and comfortably on the plane.  We both had a window seat this time, and with fewer than 20 folks on the flight with us, I enjoyed the quiet, and snoozed off and on until we reached Phoenix. I did manage to get a few pictures from the window of the plane during sunset. 

We were home.  Exhausted, but feeling good and more settled after seeing my daughter.  It felt like we could finally breathe, and move.  I'd learned a lot during that short trip, realized a great many things about myself, and I am so proud of my daughter.  Just today she sent a comment saying:
"I have had closed doors or so I thought for alot of my adult life and Now I know its not about finding one that is open and looking for an easy out, its about making your own door that is made out of your own wants and dreams and being able to open it after the creation. The door is made of all types of wood.  ....looking for or waiting for an open door is a massive waist of time. Why wait when you your self can be the carpenter and create your own. There is no wrong path or forked road when you go through your own door." 

My daughter is a rockstar.  She's my hero :).  


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