One of my favourite unfavourable mishaps is when you show up to collect someone from the airport, only to discover after a glance at the crowded flashing screen, that their flight has been delayed. Yes, that means you’ll push past the thirty minutes of free parking. And yes, if you had something planned for shortly after, you may have to cancel, rearrange or show up late. But, these things happen. In air travel (and in life), stuff like this just happens. And there is nothing you can do but sit and wait.
So if we know these things will happen to all of us, I would like to select this as my “mishap of choice” and would prefer to have all my future mishaps be of this kind.
Well, have you ever sat and watched the people waiting just outside the arrival doors? They’re all standing there, anticipating the face of someone they haven’t seen for awhile. Someone they’re missing. They’re feet are probably tired (no doubt their arriving flight has been delayed as well) but they can’t bear to sit and risk missing the first possible moment to spot that face. They check the display screen 100 times.
Bags at carousel.
They’re antsy and excitable. You can almost see the butterflies doing circles inside their stomachs. The kids are walking restlessly in circles around their parents, dragging their beloved stuffed best friends along the dirty airport floor. But even they aren’t complaining. They know this is an important moment they’re waiting for. They know they don’t want to miss that first glance either.
And then when their “person” comes, their faces light up in unison at the sight of each other and they nudge through the crowd to get their arms wrapped around each other as quickly as possible. Boyfriends return home to girlfriends who kiss them quick, hug them hard and then kiss them, four more times in a row, pausing only to briefly gaze into each other’s eyes in between. Mothers clutch their grown daughters returning home from travels abroad, rocking them side to side and kissing their cheek while they nuzzle into their mothers collar, smelling the familiar scent of home. And little girls shriek at the sight of their fathers, darting easily through the lampposts of adult legs in the way so that they can restlessly leap into the arms that have luckily dropped all the luggage they were holding up just in time to make a seamless catch.
And after that first, dramatic embrace, everyone brushes away any pesky and embarrassing tears that poked out in that moment of overwhelming emotion and they turn to walk, side by side, off to wherever they are going. Together again.
If there’s anywhere I am to be stuck, I want to be stuck here so that I can watch these scenes unfold over and over. It’s the simplest, most genuine example human emotion I’ve seen in awhile and it makes my heart feel like bursting, in a really good way.
So take your time, Momma Bear. I can’t wait until you get through customs and collect your bags, but don’t rush. I don’t mind waiting. And if you’re wondering why I’m blinking and dotting my wet cheeks when you see me, it’s partly because I’ve just watched all of this. And partly because I’m so happy to see you again.