I moved to Colorado almost six years ago and since then my daughters, now young women, have visited me many times. I’ve traveled to Denver International Airport more times since I’ve lived here than my entire lifetime in Massachusetts. I don’t drop my children off or pick them up outside with the other arrival and departure traffic, though that would be easier.
It’s important to me to see them the minute they arrive up that escalator at DIA, it’s important to me to stand in the midst of others waiting for their loved ones and feel the arrival airport energy. When I finally spy them, laden with carry on bags, I run to them, wrapping them in an huge and tight embrace making no secret that this momma’s heart is now full of joy.
The girls and I have an airport ritual when they leave as well. I watch them as they wind through the security line and once they place their belongings on the belt and begin to walk through the x-ray machine, I go to our secret spot, the windows that frame the escalators that travelers use to make their way below to their to the train and their departing terminal. I wait there and invariably find myself fighting tears. Their sweet smiling faces when they spot me on their way home mirror mine: happiness that we had the time together and good-bye sadness. Once they are out of sight, I cry. I don’t try to hide that any longer.
I suppose it’s a silly ritual. But this ritual, like others in my personal life journey is powerful.
There is value in creating a pause in my life without instead moving quickly from one thing to the next. This ritual moment allows me to absorb the complexity of loving. This moment’s pause lets me sit with the joy and sadness of what is now a memory.
I have a habit of rituals like this, perhaps born from a life that has a tendency to move too fast from experience to experience without actually considering how I’ve been changed, what I’ve learned or recognizing how I’ve been moved and inspired.
One of my favorite habits is to review the day just before I fall asleep at night and to spend a moment in the morning, cup of warm coffee in hand, slowly entering the day, savoring the morning quiet before beginning all over again.
When I travel, and especially when my journey has been extraordinary, I spend time considering where I’ve been and where I am now going in silence or by looking over the images I captured on my camera. The last thing I want to do is share or talk with another before I know where I’ve been.
When I say good-bye to my daughters and spend far more time in the airport to do so than others might think necessary, it’s in part due to recognition that these moments are measured, that our times together are no guarantee, but are instead a gift.
I live in this place, a space that knows what we have today will continue to evolve over time as life does. Nothing is static. I like this space too. I like taking my moments to recognize the treasure that has just been placed in my hand and recognizing that it has now ended. I like absorbing the magnificence of what has passed and making room for this emotional depth to become a part of who I am.
I like feeling where I’ve been most of all.