For the last 30 years, I have traveled great distances to take my rightful seat among family for that ever-so-glorified dinner known as Thanksgiving. This year, I have cut that commute down by six hours and 48 minutes. I now live a short 12 minutes over the bridge and across the river from my oldest sister.
I like that I live so close to my family now, especially around the holidays. However, I’m no longer a visiting relative, one of the gentry, so I will be expected to scrub a lot of dirty dishes. I have been demoted to being one of the local peasants, but it’s a trade-off, I guess.
This morning, I drove my daughters to the airport. Again. They will be eating turkey with their father this year. (I was going to say that they will be eating turkey with the turkey, but that just wouldn’t be nice.) I am amazed at how much easier it is getting to put them on a plane alone and to trust that they will get there safely. I still insist, however, on seeing them off at the gate. My teenager grumbles about that. Something about how she doesn’t need her mommy holding her hand anymore. On the Southern California end, their dad doesn’t even bother to get out of his fancy car. He just pulls up to the curb at LAX to collect them and to drop them off, too, when it’s time to come home. It’s so impersonal, so hurry-scurry, so . . . L.A!
Whether my daughters like it or not, I will continue to park the car at the airport and walk with them through security all the way to their boarding gate, with big hugs at the end. It makes me feel so motherly, so useful. I’ll continue to tell them that I am doing this because I really need the exercise and besides, I enjoy the occasional pat-down by security.
But what I’ll keep to myself is how much I enjoy this walk with them. See, I take my job, as their mother, very metaphorically, and after all, it’s up to me to escort my children safely and lovingly to their chosen destinations.