Sunday, July 31, 2011

Airports and Emotion

Meghan and Pete
It's hard to say good-bye to your kid.  I'm bad at it.  Airports are full of emotion.  You can see it as people joyfully reunite and also as they tearfully leave one another.  An hour or two in an airport waiting area is an interesting human study.  Maybe that's why my mother enjoyed time in airports and other places where people gathered.  We  used to refer to it affectionately as "gaping," my mother's propensity for people-watching.   I do it, too.  I can't help but get caught up in reunions and departures, wondering about the connections, realizing that the airport is the place where we ultimately allow ourselves to acknowledge, with the finite number of minutes available, the emotions that we've been saving away for just the right time.  From what I have seen, and also experienced, the airport is that place.

We had a great week together, Meghan, me, her sisters and brothers, her Dad and Kathryn, her "Grammy," other relatives and friends.  She hadn't been home in a year and a half. There were only five days to fit it all in, and she did.  She did a few of her favorite local things, spent time at her Dad's house, and there was the perfect Lake George beach day in Bolton Landing.  She had dinner at Beekman Street Bistro and drinks at the Adelphi with friends.  Her days were filled with Henry and Peter and laughing and fun.  I'm so glad I took the whole week off to spend time with my kids enjoying each others' company.  It was a "staycation" and one of the happiest weeks I've ever had.

So, when it was time to say good-bye at Albany airport this past Friday evening, Meghan knew it would be hard.  She tried to buffer it by telling me she was fine and would go read her book.  I could go.  I had planned to hang out until we couldn't hang out another second.  She probably didn't want a replay of me leaving LAX a year ago, when she dropped me off and we strangle-hugged through her van window as cars whizzed by, and I checked my luggage with tears streaming down my face.  No, she didn't want us to go through that again.  So she walked me out to the sidewalk, gave me a cheerful, loving hug, and we went our separate ways (both in tears, by the way - seems inevitable).  I got in my car and thought, no... I'm not leaving until I see her plane take off.  I drove to the parking observation area, and patiently waited there for almost an hour while planes took off and landed, and at exactly 6:05 p.m., waved wildly as her Continental flight lifted off right in front of me.  It was then that I could get in the car and drive away, but not until then. 

Meghan and me after our day at Bolton Landing

I love airports, even when they make me cry.


  1. Did I have to read this just right now? Lol!! So very true and so very sweet! I am really crying...literally!! for alot of reasons but mainly just glad to see you post this and know I'm not the only one!!! I've tried so hard to be "better" these past 6 or so weeks...therefore..I don't write!!! Oh well!!! I've got alot in drafts but not sure it can be published!!!
    Seriously, I loved this and felt every emotion!!!! I'm so glad you had such a wonderful "staycation"!! I need one very soon!!!

  2. Oooh - sorry Carolyn! Nope, we're not the only ones. Seems there's a universal response to seeing our kids leave us, no matter how old they are. As my good friend and fellow-blogger Val suggests, don't force the writing. It will come to you, and when it does, it will be genuine, authentic, and sincere. thanks for your lovely comments, and I hope those reasons for tears disappear, unless of course they are happy tears! What's that they say in Steel Magnolias -- "tears through laughter are the best..." Take care.