Aaaargh! I've been caught on the hop by a change of blog day and because I've been away from my desk most of today, the time is fast running out for me to get this post ready to go live.... Which means I have nothing planned and haven't been able to compose a draft copy and tweak it multiple times before I dare publish it. So to borrow JM's phrasing, today I'm barnstorming--that is, writing this by the seat of my pants.
However, all is not lost, dear readers. If you do crave a post about actual writing processes, check out the "Challenge yourself if you can" post on my website. For now, since time is off the essence, I'm going to do the unheard of and go for short'n'sweet on Writers Gone Wild. And for me, that's gonna be a challenge. I'm a why-use-one-word-when-you-can-elaborate-with-a-sentence-or-even-a-paragraph! kinda girl.
The topic for today is airports. Specifically, getting all emotional at airports.
So hands up if you've ever cried at an airport before? Be honest now.
I have. Because airports can be the absolute worst places. And the absolute best.
Last year, my Y7 daughter (then 11 years old) was chosen to go on a school trip to Himeji, Japan. And as I wasn't one of the parents chosen to go along, she was going on her own. Well, not on her own, because she'd be part of a group of kids with parent and teacher supervision, but she wasn't going with me or her dad. And I was okay with that. Or so I thought.
We got to the airport, met up with her group and her parent supervisor, and then, we were pretty much superfluous. In fact, I got the distinct feeling the adults just wanted us gone so they could get on with things without all us hangers on complicating matters and upsetting the kids. Consequently, they hustled the kids through the departure gates in double quick time--possibly to preempt the inevitable tears.
And as we all know, saying goodbye to someone you love sucks. My baby had just walked through the departure gates on the way to the biggest adventure of her young life...and I wasn't gonna be a part of it.
Sure, I was excited for her, thrilled to bits and beyond at this amazing opportunity which had been offered to her. She was getting the chance to experience Japanese culture by living with a host family. She'd get to visit Hiroshima, travel on the shinkansen (bullet train), visit Japanese schools, participate in Himeji's summer festival. It was a chance of a lifetime for her....and here I was, scared witless that some harm would befall her and I wouldn't be there.
I mean, what if she got left behind on the platform because she didn't make it aboard the shinkansen in time? What if she got lost on one of the trips? What if she didn't get on with her host family? What if they didn't speak any English and she got sick?
So when she turned to wave goodbye one last time before disappearing from view, I was miserable and teary-eyed and trying my best not to burst into tears. I'd forgotten just how awful airports can be.
Now picking people up from airports, that's a whole 'nother story. I absolutely love it! I always get there early, just so I can find a prime spot to sit and watch all the travellers arriving. It's at airports that my secret people-watching fetish really kicks in. I surreptitiously observe faces, make up little stories about who they might be meeting and what their relationship with that person might be. Oh, the stories I've invented!
And the absolute best part about airport arrivals is observing that special moment when someone walks through those gates, cranes their neck looking for the person who's supposed to be meeting them and....their gazes lock. It's the pure, unadulterated joy captured on their faces that gets me every time and I can't help but reach for my hankie and have a discreet dab of my eyes.
Of course, in the case of my daughter arriving back after 2 weeks away, it was tears of joy and shock. How could she have grown up so much in only 2 weeks? Her experiences had changed her, matured her. And I have to admit, as much as I'd loved to have been along for the ride, it was best for her to go without me. She discovered just how independent she could be and that newfound confidence just shone in her face.
I wonder what people thought when they observed my face as I spotted my daughter walking through those gates?
I wonder what they thought when they saw hers?
There's been heaps of airport memories in my life so far. My husband used to be in the airforce so there were plenty of tearful departures and tearful arrivals. And then there was the time my mother flew in to surprise me for my 30th birthday. I sure entertained people with my reaction on that particular day!
Want to share your airport stories? I'd love to hear them.