Yesterday was a high-energy day that started two hours early and I’m still a bit wiped, so, just another quick airport story for today.
Waiting for the flight home, there was a tired young family next to us: a mom, a dad, a small infant, and an older brother, I would guess five. Or maybe he just got finished with being five?
The wait was long and the parents tired and that little boy needed a distraction.
I did a quiet dig through the fingerpuppet stash… Let’s see, pink flamingo, I don’t think so, a bright green lizard with white scales, yeah, that one. That’s just right. I leaned over to the mom and asked if it would be okay to give this to her son?
The three of them lit up (the baby, who was nearly asleep, was unimpressed) and as she handed it to him the little boy was as if he had waited his whole life to own this very lizard. Maybe he’ll grow up to study these? He was so taken with it that I wondered what his future self might become. Everybody has to start somewhere.
“Happy Birthday,” I told him, to make sure his folks understood that this was not a loan.
The mom blinked. Turns out it WAS his birthday, and they’d flown to Legoland for the day to celebrate it. (And I imagine to make a big deal over him to try to make up for the sudden shift in the family dynamics with the arrival of his baby sister.)
“Oh cool! Really Happy Birthday!”
He examined it, he held it up, he wore it on his finger, he made it into a character. His playing was respectful of everybody’s space, from the baby’s to everyone in the crowded airport; he was a delightful little boy, and with just a little prompting from his mom he remembered to tell me, “Thank you!” And he watched my eyes to make sure that it really was his. It was. OH good!
And then I told his parents why our flight was delayed an hour, why the whole day’s worth surely had been after our first pilot had erupted the oxygen masks by accident. They did a startled ohmygoodness! and then the guffaw that that whole thing so deserved, one borne of the same thought I’d had that, hey, we’ve all done something bone-headed in public like that, glad to know we’re not the only one. And maybe a little glad that ours wasn’t quite to that scale.
And then they sat up a little straighter, chatted a little, and best of all didn’t seem so tired after that.
I wish I could tell that pilot that. And that it was okay.
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