it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us,
we had nothing before us…”
~Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Last year Alyssa wanted to go to her paternal grandfather’s funeral to be a support/comfort to her dad and grandmother. I thought it was an admirable desire, but it meant that she would fly for the first time alone and all the way to the Las Vegas airport.
I was terrified.
On an airplane miles up in the air…
Without me to make sure she remained safe, fed and happy.
Yeah, I know she isn’t really a baby, but Alyssa will always be my baby. Since my earliest memories, I’ve had the “mothering” instinct even when I was just a child. I am a caregiver, so doing for others makes me feel needed, wanted, fulfilled and happy and that is what my mothering includes.
Anyway, Alyssa wanted my “blessing” to go on the trip. I’ve always tried to let my daughter experience life without my fears holding her back, so I didn’t want to start acting too over-protective now that we were on the last leg of her being a teenager.
I agreed to let her go on the trip and fly without me.
As the day approached, I had helped Alyssa plan the packing, answered her questions of how best to help and told her a billion times that I loved her. Then we drove to the airport and I watched as she, without fear or hesitation, flew away into the big blue sky.
While Alyssa was gone on her trip, it became very clear to me that I had to concentrate on making my own life again. I spent many hours contemplating where I have been, where I am now and where I want my life to be in the future.
When the trip was over and it was time to pick Alyssa back up at the airport, I was there very early to ensure she wouldn’t have to wait alone.
As I looked down the long, fenced off hallway that led to the gates, my eyes filled with tears. The sight before me went blurry.
I turned my head to look the other direction, but tears were now overflowing and dripping down my cheeks. When my heart is overflowing with emotion, my eyes follow suit.
An airport is filled with the opportunity for so many emotions…
When I have taken people I love to the airport to leave, I have always felt sadness and upon their return, I am always happy.
I don’t like “goodbyes” or endings.
I was so excited that Alyssa was returning and I patiently waited for the plane to land as other people started gathering at the gate.
Another plane landed before Alyssa’s and the place filled up as people waited and waited for the arriving passengers to make their way down the long hallway.
One by one people were greeted with lots of hugging and kissing, then they walked on towards the baggage pickup.
Eventually, I was alone again….waiting with only my thoughts to keep me company.
I thought about all the times I have cried with joy at seeing someone get off the plane after a long absence or when I was greeted after a long flight. I also recalled all the tears I have shed when someone flew away or I had left after a wonderful visit.
Airports are the best of times and the worst of times.
Checking the time on my cell phone assured me that her plane would be landing any minute even though no one else was waiting at the gate for the other passengers to arrive.
I told myself, “You will not cry when you see Alyssa. Smile and hug her, but do not cry!” I kept saying this over and over as I watched the long hallway.
When they announced that Alyssa’s plane had landed and the passengers would arrive any moment at the gate, I was so excited and relieved.
My baby had landed safely after having a very smooth trip and love filled visit with the other part of her family. Then I saw her at the end of the long hallway walking closer and closer. I was suddenly all smiles and felt great gratitude for the opportunity to be her mother.
Alyssa finally made it to where I stood and I threw my arms around her tiny body and gave her a huge hug.