Wednesday, February 28, 2007

To and Fro We Go

My youngest son received his private pilot’s license at age 16. “Aren’t you afraid to let him fly an airplane?” a few of my friends asked when he started taking lessons. My response was always the same. “But flying is his heart’s desire, and statistics prove that the drive to and from the airport is far more dangerous than the flying.” Yes, that was and remains true. But still, my mother-heart was relieved and grateful when, after each flight, I heard his vehicle pull into the driveway, knowing that whether by air or via hard road, as my grandma used to call it, my “baby” had made it safely home.

Fast forward: that “boy” is now 36. He’s a husband, a father and a very hard worker. Although he hasn’t piloted a plane for years now (but maybe again, one day), he owns a motorcycle, a truck and a minivan. Yes, he is a go-er, a do-er . . . a man. And yet, when he makes the five-hour drive to visit us, it’s as though time has stood still. I still breathe the same sigh of relief when I hear the horn toot, the signal in our family that We Long Distance Travelers have arrived. (We also toot the horn when we depart, waving like goofballs when we drive away, which is when I once again begin waiting for the “we made it home” phone report.) Yes, I have been and will continue to be a dedicated Waiting One.

NEW POINT OF VIEW: By plane, train, limo, taxi, automobile bus and ship, from here to there and back again we business travelers go. We sit, we jog, we rent, we buy and fly, we Mapquest. We stare at departure boards until we’re numb, or struggle to read them on the run. We sleep in comfy beds and lumpy ones (or maybe it’s just my hips), eat healthy food and handfuls of junk. (Okay, I’m speaking for myself there.) We talk on the phone while writing notes, resort to concourse conference calls when flights are canceled and often overcome amazing odds to give “face time” to people we’ve never met before.

All the while, those dear to us anxiously await word that we have arrived, or departed on time, or have finally returned to our hotel room after a long day. Even though our Significant Others are busy laboring at their own jobs, taking care of the kids, holding down the fort or licking their hind quarters (bless you, Kornflake the Wonderdog), they undoubtedly utter a sigh of relief or happy tail-wagging yap when the call comes, the door opens or, yes, our car horn toots.

Today’s blog post is dedicated to those who wait with expectant dog breath (hopefully limited to the canine variety), who greet us with a familiar back-pat or embracing arms, a phone message or a check-in door knock. This is dedicated to those who faithfully long to hear from us.

If you’re a road warrior (even if you’re home now), I herewith encourage you to STOP and take a moment to give a personal and hearty THANKS the Waiting Ones in your life.

If you’re a Waiting One and your traveling man or woman sent you this link without much else in the way of explanation (or none) as to WHY they sent it, please know that the flight attendant might have just requested they turn off their electronics, their battery was nearly dead, the meeting is just beginning or they're fading to black at the end of an impossibly long day.

And yet, what they wanted to let you know right this minute but couldn’t is THANK YOU. Thank you for waiting. “Thank you for the sigh of relief you utter when I depart," (well, you know what your loved one means ;>)), "or arrive. Thank you for caring.

Thank you."

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