I took my little boy to the airport yesterday and said goodbye again.
Sending him off alone that way reminded me of another day when I had to turn my back and walk away. He was just four years old then and in his mother’s arms. I wasn’t walking away from him of course, nor from her for that matter. I walked away because I had to. Life sent three of us in two directions. We had no choice in the matter.
That day on Pier 39 in San Francisco my heart was torn with every step. “Daddy!” he kept crying, a little louder each time. It still rings in my ears. Tears flowed in a very public place. I didn’t care. I forced myself to walk away quickly. I wanted to turn around and run back but I stayed strong for them both. I walked away because we had no choice.
None of us have ever talked about that one infinite minute. I just assume Jeremy was too young to remember. Maybe he does. I should ask. I think I know his mother well enough to know her heart was also breaking for him at that moment. And maybe, just a little, for me too.
Life patches up the scars pretty well. Jeremy’s mom and I both fell in love again and married better. We stayed close.
The little boy I put on an airplane yesterday is 43 now. He was going home to his wife and their son but he will always be my little boy.
I hugged him tightly and told him I love him. He said he loves me, too.
Then I went home to my life as he flew home to his.