It was finally time to board the plane that was taking me far away from my family for the next six months. Time for that last kiss with my husband, one more chance to hold 9-year old Jamie in my arms and try to remember the smell and feel of him that would have to last me for two months.
At that moment it got real for him and he began sobbing, “Mommy, don’t go!” My husband extricated him from my arms, but he kept trying to cling on to me. The last sight I had was of the two of them watching me walk down the ramp into the plane, his face contorted and red, crying “Mommy, don’t go!”
I sat down in my seat and completely lost it. Nose running…deep gasps as I tried to stifle the sobs that would not be contained.
A kindly flight attendant came over to me. She knelt beside me and, holding my hand, said, “That broke all of our hearts. I just went out to check on your little boy and I thought you’d want to know that he’s doing fine now. He and his daddy are standing at the window trying to pick out your seat and talking about where you’re going and when they’ll see you again. He’s going to be OK. ”
It remains one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me. Smiling through my tears, tightly grasping her hand, I began to breathe again. The wracking sobs finally subsided.
And then I buckled up and got ready to begin this new adventure on the other side of the world.