One of my favorite pastimes in an airport is people-watching. On my recent trip to Florida, I was early, as usual, and had three hours to spare, despite a tedious security check.
It still shocks me to see how people dress (or don’t dress) for travel. In Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta, the world’s largest and busiest airport, you see all kinds. From business suits to undershirts or tank tops, tailored slacks to beach shorts, from minis to maxis, stilettos, sneakers or sloppy flip-flops.
I think there should be a dress code, don’t you?
Because I am a super senior and in a wheelchair, I get a few perks. I am first to board but also the last one off the plane. I get to watch the passengers as they come in. I observe their looks of apprehension, impatience and exhaustion, even excitement. Some seem bored.
Getting off in Florida after a 90-minute plane ride was a bit annoying. There were eight wheelchairs and only two handlers. Now I know what a football feels like.
It was not Delta’s fault. But West Palm Beach International better get its act together. Awful service!
I am in Lake Worth for the next 10 days. I love being with my youngest child and her family. Her second daughter just finished high school with straight As. The eldest, 21, is a senior at Florida Atlantic University. She wears a little diamond on her left ring finger.
Engaged at almost 22, Nicole will be 23 and a college graduate when she walks down the aisle with her best friend, Brody.
I look at her and I see myself many decades ago. I too had stars in my eyes, and never imagined anything in the world could derail my dreams.
I am tempted to speak words of wisdom, warn her that not every moment will be a mountaintop experience, that there are bumps and sudden valleys to prepare for.
Unsolicited advice, to be sure, but in my mind, this is the right time for it. I am her grandmother, after all. Should they not benefit from my experience? I am sure she will not take offense. She is a sweet girl. The worst that can happen is that she might roll her pretty eyes at me, or even look amused.
But is it relevant in this day and age to even try to talk about the downside of romance? Does my age and track record qualify me for a soapbox? Should I share my life or just keep the old scars to myself?
Maybe I better just keep busy choosing colors, or helping decide on the wedding venue, the gowns and the flowers, or giving my input to the long list of family members to be invited.
I ask my friend. “The world is very different now,” he tells me. “Perhaps it is futile to even try. You may cause discomfort and unnecessary grief. Just keep your nose out of it.” I don’t like that.
A voice in my heart tells me that the world may have changed, but life remains the same.
When they are little children we assure them there are no spooks and monsters hiding in the dark. We promise to fight the bad guys for them, always.
And then they grow up. They fall in love, and all fear is suddenly gone.
At her age I was totally smitten and insanely brave. I rushed forward without looking, jumped over obstacles without flinching. I believed I had wings that would keep me above the storms forever.
My friend reminds me: “That is what being young is all about. Or have you forgotten?” I hate it when he’s right.
The Marriage Box
I almost started my little talk with my granddaughter the other day. It seemed like the perfect time for it.
We were looking at swatches of chiffon in beautiful shades of blue, and I asked her, “Nicole, are you sure you want to do this?”
There was no hesitation: “Yes, Lola.”
And my heart whispered: “Amen.”
Last night I found this lovely essay. “The Marriage Box,” author unknown.
“Most people get married believing a myth that marriage is a beautiful box full of all the things they they have longed for: companionship, intimacy, friendship, etc.
“The truth is that marriage at the start is an empty box. You must put something in before you can take anything out.
“There is no love in marriage. Love is in people. And people put love in marriage.
“There is no romance in marriage. You have to infuse it into your marriage.
“A couple must learn the art and form the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising, keeping the box full.
“If you take out more than you put in, the box will be empty.”