Sunday, July 19, 2009

Getting There: Day Two (Thursday)

Everyone, that is, except Kathy Wilt.

While Scott spent the night with his brother and sister, Kathy stayed up long after bedtime, making cookies and black-bottom cupcakes. I can picture her, the light from the kitchen spilling out into the darkness, while she placed dozens of tiny cupcake papers into baking tins, and slid fresh cookies into a container to take to the airport.

Chocolate chip cookies…do other cultures love them as we do, or are they iconic to America only?

Kathy, I am sure, understands Pam’s gift of salmon. Making cookies late into the night, putting them into containers to take to the airport to share with everyone. It’s a gift of love that none of my words will capture. Long after the cookies are gone, the memory of her tucking them into Scott's backpack will be pulled out like a photograph, to be savored again.

The next morning, Zach’s girlfriend left at 5 am, and we all said goodbye, and then he went back to sleep. I spent the morning tiptoeing upstairs and peeking at him sleeping. What a gift, to see him in bed at home. The simplest things are the most treasured.

I worked with a database client over the internet, discussing integrating their communications database with a data warehouse. It was an improbably complicated conversation, and surreal. While I was talking, my middle son texted me come upstairs. I couldn’t go. Later he told me that I missed a great photo: three brothers and the dogs all sprawled out together, talking.

Then boys went out for breakfast, and grandparents arrived, and my sister’s family came. The flight was delayed again, and after everyone left, Zachary went into his room and closed the door and did not come out for a long time.

What is it like at twenty-five to write a “what if” letter?

Then there was a trip for a cheese steak to put in his backpack for dinner, and a trip to the local grocery for sandwiches for lunch, and back to the hotel to meet the rest of the advance team.

This time, the ticketing counter clipped right along. We all gathered in a sports bar. Five hours to wait until the flight was due to leave at 11 p.m.

Which boarded at 2 a.m.
And left at 4:30 a.m.

We said our goodbyes and hugged at about 8 p.m. Without worries, without strain. We know that the best way to support someone is to let them do their work, without them having to worry about us.

I watched Zach go through security. I could tell he was cracking jokes with the guards. the way he always does. He just likes people, and talks easily with everyone. When he took off his shirt to go through the scanner, I found throat catching.

And then the feeling was under control and gone, and he was out of sight.

Fly safe. Be safe, baby of mine.

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