While traveling across the country a few weeks ago, I had one of those moments that I don't believe I will ever forget. We had a layover in Houston for a few hours on the way back to LA. I had been holding our daughter on the flight, and had managed to keep her asleep through the landing and getting off the plane. I was having a hell of a stroke of luck, but was pretty tired at the same time.
My wife had run into the bathroom, and I was just hanging out in the terminal with my daughter slung across my front, wrapped in my tired arms. While swaying with her back and forth, a pilot sauntered by with his roller case in tow. He looked over at me, and said "Great Job Dad!" It felt a bit like time stopped at that moment, like a movie or something. At such a simple time, most would call it pretty boring. Standing in an airport waiting for another crowded flight. This pilot made me so proud! I was genuinely affected by those 3 words. It was like he saw it, and hit the nail right on the head.
I am not sure if this pilot has children or if he was just a kind observer. But what he said that day as he cruised through the airport was a big deal. Recognizing a parent for what they do. Giving a fellow dad a pat on the back. I Love it! They say it is a thankless job. Well not on that day. Thank you for that sir!
2 years later commentary
I still remember what the man looked like. I still remember the terminal. I still remember the feeling. Ya know being a Dad has brought up all kinds of fears and insecurities. It has challenged me in ways I never thought possible. The answer when things get tough and unfamiliar has always been to lean in. Lean into the moment, be Present and just “Be.”
On this day it was clear that was where I was, and this man chpse to use his words to lift me up. And it worked! I never saw him again; and doubt I ever will. But his words will remain.
If your a parent you know the feeling, just baking in the unglorified moment of barely hanging on. Completely devoid of care for anything else but your presence for your child. Well this, although it may sound dismal is Amazing. Being so present for someone else is truly a gift. Those of you who see someone here, know that the power of your words, a kind word, a helping hand, a smile can literally make a stamp on someone’s heart forever.
This pilot made my day, and he stoked the fire of pride in my soul. He unknowingly reaffirmed my desire and yearning to be in the moment, to be there for my child. Some may say this is deep, but being connected has been the greatest gift for me. I have to keep my thumb on it though. It’s easy to disconnect, challenges and frustrations always abound. I try to watch them laugh and think about how that makes me feel, or think about the moment when they hug me. Connecting to the connection is what I like to call it. It’s truly something you have to choose to do sometimes. Or atleast I do.
As you go about your days, keep your eyes peeled for those that may need some encouragement or some support. Delivery is the artistry.