Jan 5, 2015
We arrive at US Border Customs with a mixture of attitudes: I am feeling anxious and saying things like—'Aaron should have brought his school letter along...what if they become suspicious about his trip to LA'; Harry is slightly annoyed by my anxious comments and grips the steering wheel more tightly, and Aaron is blissfully confident that nothing can go wrong. Boom roasted! Everything does go wrong! The cheerful customs official hands us a pink slip at the very end of his litany sending us (still with a cheerful tone) into the Customs building. Never trust a cheerful man at lunch time! The woman who greets us inside the building looks like she just had her lunchs and it didn't agree with her. Her tone is stern and somewhat sarcastic as though she knows exactly where she is going with her questions. However, in the end there was nowhere to ‘go’ with the questions and Aaron’s story has to be accepted as accurate.
Now, with this 45 minute delay we are bound to miss Aaron’s flight. We do our best, passing cars on the 2 lane highway with great decorum, speeding up at yellow lights as inconspicuously as possible, and keeping a sharp lookout for state troopers. Aaron gives directions to the airport at lightning speed and Harry practises his Nascar skills with great dexterity. At the Departure doors Aaron bounds out of the car with back-pack, pillow, and suitcase flapping alongside. I hurry after him
Inside the departure area he runs directly to the passenger line up. Only no one is lined up of course. Only one 30-ish Latino woman is sweetly saying, ‘Good-bye Mummy’ as Aaron dashes past her. I glance at ‘Mummy’ an older Latino woman in her 50’s, heavily made up and dressed in her Sunday best. She smiles at me and says with a heavy sigh, ”My daughter.” I smile back understandingly. It is always hard to say goodbye.
As my eyes anxiously follow Aaron’s progress through security, I say to her, “Children should stay close to home, don’t you think?”
“Yes,” she says emphatically with tears filling her eyes. I want to give her a hug but don’t want to lose sight of Aaron. So I move closer to her while keeping my eyes on Aaron.
“I told my 3 sons that it was an unspoken rule that children should live close to their parents,” I go on to say confidingly.
She nods, but then informs me that even though her daughter is returning to El Salvador they call each other every week. She says, “My daughter always tells me, Mummy, I need you every single day. I will always need you.” I tell her she is lucky to have a daughter. But no, there is more. She has a son too who calls her from Canada. Every single day! I stand in awe of such loyalty. How did she produce such loving kids?
As I see Aaron grabbing his stuff and running for all he's worth towards the gate and out of sight, I feel extremely anxious. I walk over to the lobby to study the Arrivals and Departures screen. Did he make it? How will I know? Should we wait?
From a distance I hear, “Lady! Good bye!” I scan the lobby and see my Spanish friend waving as she leaves the building. My heart is warmed and I wave back enthusiastically. I see the secret of her loving family. She is a loving person.
I tell my husband we will wait a few minutes to make sure Aaron made it on the plane even though he was 5 minutes late for boarding. To our dismay he returns within minutes. He did not board. It was too late. But we say nothing and wait for him to re-book. We all remain calm in spite of the stress we have felt for the last hour. I am thankful to have my son with me a little longer even though we just wasted a $150 plane ticket and he had to pay $75 for another one. Some things just can't be measured in dollars and cents. And one of those is a mother's love. I will never stop being a mother, I guess.