Katie Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy and is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. She works from her home office on the east coast of Florida. Most often she writes about life in a combined family of five children and what it's like being a full time work-from-home parent. Feel free to pitch guest post ideas or just drop her a line at katie@mumblingmommy.com.

Yesterday I flew home from visiting my daughter’s family in Florida.   It was warm and sunny, not only outside, but also inside since I got to see my daughter, son-in-law and the 4 grandchildren.   It’s always hard to leave, but my husband, two sons, daughter-in-law and 2 grandchildren are here in snowy, gray-skied Indiana.  So, home I went.

My daughter and oldest granddaughter drove me to the airport.  There were tears everywhere.  I promised I would return at some point…hopefully with Papa next time (he is a high school diving coach and was unable to travel at this time).   I sniffled a bit myself, but it is what it is.

When you fly solo, there is always the adventure of who you will sit by.  Obviously, it will be a stranger of some sort.  I fly on Allegiant and choose the left side of the plane which has only 2 seats.   I always choose a window option on this side.   This lessens the statistical probability of having a horrid experience with a) a snorer; b) someone who smells wrong; or c) someone who is simply rude.  I am also prone to “car sickness” and need a window seat to imagine a horizon and avoid puking.

This was a great flight.

Leaving Family, Finding Friends

It started before any of us were on the plane.   I saw a familiar face.  I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m a CASA volunteer (Court Appointed Special Advocate) – some states call them GALS (Guardian ad litem).  I saw the foster mom of a little boy who had been on my volunteer caseload. Their family had taken him in almost at birth due to the inability of the birth mom to care and provide for him.   He is 2 years old now…a happy, kind little soul.  The foster family recently decided that they would not pursue adoption for him.  They have raised their own children, fostered many others, and adopted some of those.

Their own children are high school age.  At our last court review, the foster mom (with tears in her eyes) told the judge that they just didn’t feel like they could adopt him.   I was sad, as these were the only parents he knew, and they are stable and nurturing.  I said a little prayer that he would not be returned to the drama of his birth mom’s life.  This couple has extended their hearts, time, and finances to nurture several children who needed love.  They have given much.  When the judge asked my opinion, I honestly said, that since the little guy had experienced such a positive family, I felt it was detrimental for him to be placed with birth mom. The judge directed DCS (Dept. of Child Services) to pursue an appropriate foster home leading to adoption for him.

At times I wish someone had lent a hand to this birth mom.   She didn’t finish high school, hasn’t held a job successfully (due to having children so young), and appears to be taken advantage of by several people.

So I greeted the foster mom and we chatted while we waited for the plane to load. She asked, “Did you hear the news?”

“I’m not sure,” I said.

“We’ve changed our minds.  We will be adopting him. We know it’s the right thing to do.  Our own children were crushed to think of him leaving us, and honestly, my heart was heavy also.”

I hugged her and tears ran down my cheeks.  She is an amazing woman.  I wish I could remember her words exactly, but it was close to this.  

“I felt it was time for me to have some time for myself.  But then I realized that what my ‘self’ wanted and what my “heart” wanted weren’t in alignment.  He needs to be ours.  None of us want him to leave.”  Wow.

Boarding began, and I got to my window seat wondering who my travel partner would be.  The plane filled up, and then we waited.  And then we waited some more. And finally the pilot let us know that there was some sort of issue with the toilet. Erg.

Then another “wow” experience.  I sat next to a single mom of a 16 year old.  She is a teacher who works with the troubled and at risk kids at a high school.  I shared that I had worked at a boys juvenile detention center for 10 ½ years.  Bam! We were bonded by a mutual love for these troubled ones, and our desire to help them.  We discussed concerns about how to help struggling kids, and we both agreed that “giving up on them” was the worse choice. 

She has also been a teacher chaperone for guided trips to other countries for high school students.  She’s been several places, but she shared that being at the remains of a prison camp in Germany was the most moving.  They saw the crematorium, and piles of personal belongings….combs, clothing, teeth. 

I asked how the students reacted to this.  “They were quiet…very quiet.”

I shared that I was visiting family in Florida.  She shared that she was visiting a rather serious love interest.  He has a plane and they flew over several of the Florida Keys and the Bahamas. 

Sounds like a winner to me.

We talked passionately about the need for educational choices that work for alternative learners.  Not all kids are visual and auditory learners.  The kinesthetic (“gotta touch stuff”) kids tend to be the bane of teachers, but are often quite creative.  My new friend shared that her school has become more open to the reality of non-traditional learners.  Perhaps this will “catch on”, I think it would have helped several young men I knew through the years at the boot camp.

We arrived at the airport and “ughed” at the sight of the snow piles on the ground. We hugged and thanked each other for the great trip.

It was cold out, but it was good to be home.


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Category: Grandparents

Tags: airplane