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Sunday, December 12, 2010

When Saying Thank You is NOT Enough

I am stuck in Vegas.

To be more clear, I am stuck at the airport.

I missed a 7 AM flight because apparently I slept through my 5 AM wake up call. Being naive, I thought "i can just catch the next flight." I hadn't quite understood the enormity of the Las Vegas rodeo. The sheer volume of cowboy hats should have tipped me off.

I also was oblivious to the enormous amounts of snow that apparently was dumped on most of america while I was enjoying the lovely conference rooms at the Aria for about 12 hours a day.

So to make a long story short, i ran in desperation to every possible ticket counter and resorted to tears, begging, pleading, blackmail (don't even ask. Desperate times call for desperate measures.)

I finally got myself on a flight on a different airline. I will go through Phoenix to another airport in DC, not the one I flew from. And not the one my baggage is at either, since IT apparently made the flight that my little waitlisted butt was not so fortunate to make. So if I do the math, my tired self will get home around 8 AM.

Still crossing my fingers on that one.

I came out to Vegas for a company conference. It was great. But i miss my kids and husband, our au pair (Fe).

I miss catching up on the day with John as we curl up and watch our favorite shows after we get the kids to bed.

I miss the warmth of that first drop of of coffee, our cheap old maxwell house that we buy in bulk from costco, and joking about which child didn't let us sleep last night (they tend to alternate. It's like they plan it). I love the laughter of the children and bustling around the house with John and Fe each morning as we stumble through our morning rituals.

I miss hugging my kids. Their sweet breath on my cheeks. Nico's overzealous and sloppy wet kisses.

The simple things. The things that make home ... well . . .

HOME.

I really, really miss them. This delay in reaching them is devastating to me.

But my impatience is selfish.

So freaking selfish.

As I was running from ticketing agent to ticketing agent, the idea that it would be ANOTHER day before I saw my children was a punch in the gut.

As I was walking through the airport, I saw a soldier. Several in fact. But this one seemed to be struggling with baggage.

"Can I help you with that?" I asked, indicating the bag he was struggling with.

He looked up at me, smiled and said, "Thanks, but I think I'll be alright." He smiled at me and despite my sadness about my travel woes, his smile lifted my heart a little.

He was a cute kid. Probably in his mid-twenties. I imagined he was most likely on the football team when he was in high school. An Eagle Scout, maybe. Just a wholesome kid, with a big grin and the kind of guy you know was well-liked.

A son.

A brother.

"Are you coming or going?" I asked, hoping that his response was the latter.

"Going," he said, the wide grin never waning. I am fairly certain my own smile faltered, because he jumped in to reassure me.

"No, no it's cool. It's my second deployment." I wasn't sure how that made his safety any more real, but I nodded my head in agreement.

"Thank you," I said. And before I could stop myself I reached out and gave this boy a hug. A big bear hug.

He didn't seem startled by the hug. He hugged me back and said,

"I'm gonna be alright."

I don't know why I reached out the way I did. He was not the only soldier I saw today, but he was the only one I thanked.

In all honesty, I wanted to reach out to every one of those men and women, some who seemed so young to be walking into the situations they will be confronting on each of their individual deployments. I wanted to hug every single one and say "Thank you."

For making the sacrifices they make.

For doing what so many of us cannot fathom.

I pray that each of them comes home.

I think about the parents, the children, the siblings, the friends who don't know with certainty when and if their loved ones will come home.

Home.

I think of that soldier's reassurance to me.

"I'm gonna be alight." And I pray for him, for his mother, his father, his wife, his child. For anyone who loves him that he is right.

A few weeks ago, I saw the 60 Minutes piece on Medal of Honor recipient,

Sal Giunta. If you have not yet seen it, please watch it on cbs.com.

It's an amazing story to hear what this young man did. Watching that video gave me chills, brought me to tears and tore at my heart.

As I sat watching it on my couch. In my home.

Home.

There is a grace and dignity to Sal Giunta which I think every American should honor.

There is grace and dignity in every single of these soldier's hearts that takes my breath away.

I will make it home. There is some level of certainty that I will. I will hug my children and John and Fe and tell them how much I missed them.

And I will pray that everyone makes it.

Home.

XOXO,

Kiran

13 comments:

Kristen Staples said...

You tore at my heart. Well put as always!

webb said...

Your heart is huge. He was lucky to bump into you today. Travel safely.

Masala Chica said...

Thank you guys. Looks like my first leg of this flight is on time.

Anna See said...

Welcome home! Thanks for reminding us to appreciate home and those who keep us safe.

SaraPlaysHouse.com said...

Of any blogger I've ever read, YOU, friend, YOU are the one who makes me cry the most.
Good tears.
Grateful tears.
Thank you.

Venassa said...

Such a sweet post. It's moments like that, that really make you think.

foxy said...

Oh man. You know, I've totally had those moments... BOTH moments. Ones that I couldn't stand not being home another minute - and totally know where you're coming from there. And then also the ones where you see a serviceman and are so grateful and thankful for their service that you can't even think straight.

This was a really good emotional post - thanks for sharing, Kiran!

alessandra said...

Amen.

Sara Louise said...

This was truly beautiful. And that part where you reached out and hugged the soldier got me. It really got me :-)

Momastery said...

love this post.

hurry home.

Lemon Gloria said...

Oh, Kiran, you made me all teary. You're so very sweet. Big hugs to you and yours.

Shannon Weader said...

Great post Kiran :)

Stephanie Faris said...

Awwww, how touching. When I went to England a few years ago, I had a similar situation coming back (although it was summertime so the delays were just American Airlines being a pain in the butt). It took us something like 18 hours to get home...and the first part of the trip was only 8 hours. It was getting from Chicago to Nashville that was the pain. But as I was sitting there with PINKEYE (which I contracted in England), there were two soldiers coming back from Iraq who weren't complaining at all. One of them even said this was nothing...they were used to waiting around and at least there they had restaurants all around and an air conditioned building to hang out in. Very much a reminder of how much we take for granted.

I hope you made it home by now and are enjoying your Maxwell House!

 

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