if you've seen the movie Love Actually, perhaps you've considered the sentimentality of people watching at the arrivals area of an airport. prior to even seeing the movie, which has emerged as one of my all time favourites, i recall having a conversation with my mother about the very topic. we have noted how, in that very particular space, there is such emotion. such happiness.
obviously, not everyone has a waving auntie or jumping jelly bean grandchld to greet them, but where there are greetings, feelings abound. sometimes just a requisite hug, and kiss on the cheek. sometimes a deep kiss punctuated with the giving of red roses. sometimes a gallop to a tight grip that every onlooker can feel to the bones.
today i went to pick my mother in law up at the local airport, and i found myself lost in it. more so than usual, in part due to the fact that at the end of the week i will leave my family for a short time- for the longest period of time since having my babies. more significantly though, i think, was the impact of the size and location of the airport, and our area demographic.
it's smallish, the springs airport. as you wait for your arriving loved one there is time to note those sparsely scattered around you... the parents in their early forties, awaiting the return of their teen-aged sons from an early summer camp... the old man with the long hair, waiting to have his lover drop her purse and tote so he can kiss her proper... the young mother, fist full of 'welcome home' balloons, her two sons holding large pieces of construction paper carefully painted with "welcome home daddy!!"... the mother with the pigtailed princess trailing an american flag printed balloon for another soldier daddy...
... and you know, as i think on it, i believe this is what makes the springs airport arrivals gate significantly different from, say, denver or atlanta or philadelphia or newark. there is a bit less to soak in, and what saturates is the disproportionate number of servicemen and servicewomen being welcomed home. this town harbors the US air force academy, two air force bases, and an army base. so out of the five individuals or families waiting for an arrival, three of them were greeting military personnel. watching these reunions with our country's heroes is nothing short of riveting to me.
as i think about the daddy, quickening his pace to hug his sons around their hand made signs, the little girl racing into the security zone to hug her daddy home, or the woman in fatigues locking in the tightest, tearful embrace with her sister soldier, i know some of life's most important and moving moments are taking place right there in that small area, by the long hall of windows. right there, for everyone to see.
oh yeah, and it's great to see my mother in law too...