Ella made a recent request to visit the airport and “just walk around.” Since her last trip on a plane- back in October 2014- she has been fascinated with both the idea of returning to DisneyLand (which was her birthday trip that year) and exploring the mysterious happenings of an airport once more.
If you heard her tell the tale, she’d insist that she is veteran flyer and would offer insider knowledge of a superior boarding process or something equivalent via 6 year old terms. She’s so funny like that.
Ella is precious and excited about life, so of course I said yes. What else are we going to do amidst a torrential downpour on a Tuesday?
So off we went to the Airport today…
Our first plan of action was to race across the sky bridges. We parked the car and raced up the stairs before finding our starting mark on the bridge. Ella always says “Ready, set-” and then takes off running before gut laughing GO! What I wouldn’t do to hear that laugh every day.
Of course, Ella wins about 3/4’s of the time, but oh how I do enjoy winning on that last run. She’s an only child so I try and balance things out by allowing her to lose that 1/4 time. Every child should know the frustration, jealousy and then pitter patter of a bruised ego before it flexes and transforms into joy. And what great joy it is to celebrate another’s success. A learned gift really.
Next, we ran round and round through those industrial sized oscillating doors. Much to the chagrin of many a hurried passenger, we darted in and out with Ella in fits of laughter each time we ran inside, only to be slowed by the tired, mechanical inlet. I made overly dramatic slooooooo- motion movements toward the slowly growing gap until it grew wide enough for both of us to burst through and race toward the finish line.
At some point Ella chuckled at one of my lame jokes and then glanced down thoughtfully before commenting.
“That really wasn’t funny mom”.
I appreciate her sweet honesty.
We then went to dinner at Panda Express, her favorite. The Portland airport has dozens of restaurants to choose from for an array of palettes, yet it was this tiny, brightly branded food chain that had her mesmerized. She ordered noodles and BBQ chicken, then gasped when I told her it came with a free chocolate chip cookie.
After this we walked through the odd little shops that make up an airport. A local “Made In Oregon” store where most things look like they were made in 1992 and never sold. Then we strolled through a book store that became Ella’s favorite due to a well endowed toy section before stumbling across some kind of nightmare gift shop which housed every breakable item known to man precariously stacked on glass shelves. I quickly detoured Ella with the promise of more races.
What is ironic about the treasured memories we made today- is that A. I began the day feeling hungover from a terrible flu I am still fighting. B. It was pouring and miserable outside. C. The concession to adventure at the airport came about quite spontaneously.
And yet, all those annoying quotes about living in the moment, being present and making the most of each day suddenly became clear as blue skies to me as I ached for the laughter escaping Ella’s lips. The beauty of such a perfect few hours did not escape me, but rather nestled in with each passing minute, as if settling in for a good long haunt.
I get stressed and preoccupied with work, overwhelmed with being a sick parent to a small, energetic child and unfortunately I let the weather get the best of me all to often in the winter. Yet, today was this surprising little treasure. And I mean treasure- like gold and shopping sprees and winning the lottery!
I sure am blessed and lucky. I know that is true everyday. But today, I had the honor of reveling in a slice of my own heaven without a second thought.