Thursday, December 11, 2014

Happy place

What is the first word that comes to your mind when you think of an airport? 

Change.” This is the first word the comes to my mind.

Going to an airport is invariably a very thrilling and exciting experience for me. Mostly because it means a change. I need change from time to time. Change in the scenery. Change in the routine. Change in my to-dos. Change in the priorities. Everything except for people. I want people in my life to be a constant and everything else to change from time to time. 

So, I like change. And I think of the word “change” when I think of airports. A corollary to this logic is that I like airports. I very much do. I love airports. They take me to a happy place.

We by no means are an elegant family. I don’t think we will ever be, no matter how grown up we or our kids become. I have a feeling. At any given time, we have one screaming kid, one crying kid, one kid running off to another gate, one kid running behind the counter to chat with the air-hostess, one kid running toward the escalator going in the opposite direction, one kid lying flat on the ground because they want to be lifted, too many luggage items (no matter how light we want to travel), and too few hands and brains to keep it together. So we are the farthest thing from being an elegant family. 

In spite of it all, airport is my happy place. 

Because it means change.

We took a trip to Mexico (again) last week. This time to Mazatlan. And no, we did not lose our camera this time. It came back in once piece. Almost. Except for the time when we dropped it in the ocean, accidentally. But nothing happened. Not yet anyway. This is not the only reason why our trip to Mazatlan was so memorable. We went there with some of our favorite people, which is what it is all about anyway. The excitement for any trip begins the minute we shut our garage door close to head to the airport. At first it does not necessarily look like excitement because it is accompanied by random but somewhat important questions like did-I-take-my-sunglasses, did-I-keep-the-passport, did-I-close-the-garage-door, did-I-turn-off-all-the-lights, and the catch all question which is the mother of all questions, did-I-forget-anything-else. But once we are at the airport, pretty confident that we are not going to miss the flight, the excitement breaks all the barriers and surfaces up at the top. At that point, airport feels like the North Pole. A place where dreams come true. Coupled with the anxiety of two toddlers in a confined space is the anticipation of arriving at our destination. Mazatlan was good to us. Most of our vacation involved some combination of pool, ocean, walks, naps, food, drinks and most importantly, nachos. I could get so very used to it all.

The funny thing about vacations is that no matter how good it is, how long or short it is, how much we want it to last longer - it somehow feels good to come back home and sleep in our own bed. It rounds the vacation really well. Of course, for the purpose of our bubble, we will conveniently ignore the part that involves unpacking, doing laundry, cleaning, et al. 

We brought back some memories from our happy place.

We were supposed to head back to the airport the day after we got back from Mazatlan. This time it was for the North Pole. To meet Santa. It was an event organized by our local down syndrome community, Delta Airlines, the Fire and Rescue department, and a few other sponsors. Back to our happy place. How could we complain. All four of us were super excited as we headed to the airport. We were greeted and taken to a special security check organized for this event. There were balloons, folks dressed in red and white, and overall happy-festive-Christmas spirit. We were taken to gate A13, where we were going to board a Delta flight and go to the North Pole. While we waited at the terminal for all the guests to arrive, there was singing, dancing, and more of the same to start our journey. The place was completely decorated. We sat in the plane as it got ready to take off to the North Pole (aka Delta Hanger). Thirty minutes and some food and dance sessions later, we arrived at our destination. Right before we arrived at the hanger, we did have two massive fire engines pouring water on our plane from both sides, to mimic the North Pole weather. While every single minute of that evening, no exaggeration and no joke, was very very special, this particular moment did it for me. It teared me up. I don't know why. I think it was just the realization of the sheer goodness of people around us. All the people who worked on this project over the last six months to make it such a huge success, all the volunteers who were present that day making sure that every single guest was having a good time and felt special - all of it - it came from a very pure place in their hearts. And that made me tear up a little. Stepping out of the plane was nothing short of a miracle. The hanger was lit and decorated and had a vibe that couldn't be matched. Every single soul present there had a lot of fun. I can promise you that. There is so much goodness around us. In spite of everything, we know that people are capable of the selfless and the good. That’s what a heart does to you people. I wish all my airport trips were this special.

We soaked it all in. Our happy place.

Monkeys will be monkeys

The fact that airports are my portal into a dreamland, be it a vacation destination or my home sweet home, is not lost on me. 

Here is to everyone’s happy place, wherever it is.

My Positivity

Every. Single. Thing. That. Happened. Last. Week.

It was all way too special.

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