On the plane from Atlanta to Baltimore, I sat next to a father and the cutest four-year-old this side of Legoland. The little boy obviously was thrilled with flying, and was happy even to be seated next to a stranger (me!) for the one-and-a-half hour flight.
He took his juice from his little backpack, his daddy carefully inserting the straw in the Juicy Juice box.
He watched “Curious George.”
He played Angry Birds and laughed out loud when he made the Stonehenge-like buildings fall down on his iPad.
He smiled and smiled and smiled and said, “Daddy, you are my best friend.”
I actually teared up when I heard that.
Maybe it’s a function of being on the road away from MY family for the past five days. Or maybe it was thinking of Ben, now a bigger-than-me 14-year-old, as a curly-headed toddler when we would travel from coast to coast, toting along a library of DVDs and a portable player. Or maybe it was just the sweetness of it all.
“Daddy, you are my best friend.”
It was a two-person lovefest, the two of them snuggled up in the seats next to me.
I thought about my kids and wondered if they’d consider me their best friend. And I wondered if ten years from now this boy and his dad would still be in their little cocoon of love.
I wanted to get their email address and send one of those emails to the future you can do via Futureme.org, set to arrive about a decade from now when email will be “quaint” and this particular flight would be long forgotten by them and by me. “You were best friends,” I’d remind them. “You loved each other purely and wholly, hugging and kissing without regard for who was watching you. You just enjoyed each other’s company with no expectations, no history, no baggage.”
Maybe that email would arrive just when they were in a big, shaking-the-walls fight about homework or disrespect or the length of hair that was acceptable in this household. Maybe it would remind them that they really did love one another, no matter what horrible things they’d been throwing at each other. Maybe it would ease the tension and bring back some of that first love feeling when they were a team, not adversaries.
But I didn’t get their email address. I didn’t say anything except, “You’re a good traveler!” (I was rewarded with a toothy smile.)
I didn’t send that message into the future. (That would have been weird, right?)
So instead I’m writing this. Then I’m going to get on the next plane, head home to Boston, creep into my kids’ rooms in the middle of the night, kiss them on their soft cheeks, and whisper in their sleeping ears…
“You’re my best friend.”
Image courtesy of Robscomputer/Flickr