Sunday, July 24, 2005


Last week we traveled. I could site chapter and verse about waiting in line and rude, inconsiderate people. But I won't. I set my alarm for 3:45 AM so we could arrive at the Tampa airport by 5 for our 6:50 departure. I was tired and maybe a little grumpy. OK, a lot grumpy. Flying Southwest with no seat assignment adds a whole new element to air travel that I don't like. No non-stops available so we did everything twice.

While waiting in line at the gate in Tampa, I watched a pretty young mother escorting her two little boys to the gate where they would fly alone... perhaps to see their dad or grandparents. She was probably in her 20's or maybe early 30's but she looked like she was in high school. Her lovely blond hair pulled back in a neat bun. I don't think she had on make up. She was petite and naturally pretty. I watched as she lovingly and bravely interacted with her children remembering when my girls were little and I had to send them off to visit their father for the summer. She had a loving smile which she offered freely. When it was time, she gave them each a kiss and hug then turned her precious cargo over to the Southwest attendants. She watched as the boys walked down to the plane. When they were out of sight she put her fingers to her lips as if to stifle the emotion but tears trickled down each cheek nonetheless. The rest of the pre-boarding passengers were boarding when she realized she had the cartridges to the Game Boy. A family waiting their turn to board offered to deliver them to the boys. She smiled again and thanked them.

I felt guilty for staring, like I was intruding in her private moments but I couldn't help it. She intrigued me. Younger than my own children. Parting with her babies. My chest was heavy and my heart was in my throat when she walked away from the gate area. I had been watching them since we entered the tram from the main terminal. I noticed her not because she was a mom with two kids to send on their way but because she had on a uniform. I don't know what service branch but assume Air Force as McDill is right here in Tampa. This pretty little thing had on camouflage and combat boots. Is she sending children to visit relatives for a fun summer vacation or is she sending her children to be kept safe because she must go somewhere awful like Iraq? I wanted to sob. I can't get her off my mind. This is real, this is now. I wish the president or his wife had been there to see what I did. It tears at my gut to type the words. Is she safe tonight? Will she see her children again? Has she been sent somewhere to defend me? Is there no way to stop this? I feel helpless and sad that this has to happen at all. ::sigh::

I am not good at prayer but in my own way I pray she is safe and home in Tampa missing her kids while they visit their Grandmother and not in Iraq adjusting the velcro straps on her bulletproof vest.


At 11:03 PM, Blogger RED QUILT MAKER said...

Well My Dear
When you come back, you come back!
This post is very touching and such a good reminder of who we are and what's important.

At 10:57 AM, Blogger sttropezbutler said...

I can only hope that if indeed this brave young woman is in harms way that she has a vest...since we seem so remiss in equiping our troops with what they need.

Very nicely put, thanks...



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