After my two glorious weeks in California (The Golden Gate;Birthday!; Indigeny; Yosemite; Sacramento) and three amazing days in Minnesota (The Tale of the Squirrel), I flew to Columbus Ohio to visit my boys Soren & Christian, and Sorens partner Lindsay. I’ll be honest, I was a little tired. It’s a lot of traveling, driving, flying. My eyes were even a little gritty from looking at all the things! Mind you, I’m so not complaining, merely describing my state of mind and body because it sets the tone for  my tale today.

As part of my birthday treats, Soren bought me the plane ticket from Minneapolis to Columbus. He’s been traveling like a mad man for his job (he’s an Amazon guy) and knew just the right airline for me. Southwest was a great choice, especially because I could check two bags free! The only thing not-so-great was Southwests freedom of seating plan.

We had gotten my ticket from Minneapolis to Columbus fairly late in the planning, because Soren, Christian and Lindsay were moving from Texas to Columbus and the time line was uncertain. An almost-last-minute ticket on Southwest means seat choices are sparse, and usually in the back and in the middle. I was okay with that, I’m short, and I was so excited to see my kids mijn dag kon niet meer stuk (translation from Dutch: My day couldn’t break or get bad).

Soren called to make sure I managed the airport fine with all my bags, and that I was really on the plane. He also recommended moving up to the front row during our brief Chicago layover. That turned out to be prophetic because during our 45 minute layover almost the entire plane deboarded. Only 13 people stayed on board, and as soon as we were counted I grabbed my two carryons and plopped down in the second row. Score!

On the flight from Minneapolis to Chicago a very talkative, nervous, man had told me all about accidents at Midway (the airport in Chicago). This is not my idea of great airplane conversation. So as soon as I got my premium psuedo first class seat, I pulled out my tablet, turned on the latest episode of “This is Us” and popped my earbuds in. No weirdos talking to me!

And then this stupid jerk boarding in Chicago tossed his bag into the seat next to mine, hitting my elbow! Urgh. I ignored the stupid jerk because I wasn’t hurt and I didn’t want to talk to a stupid jerk again. Not that he noticed me deliberately ignoring him. Nope. Jerk sat down right next to me elbowing me in the process. Hard. Urgh. I looked up mad to yell at him and burst into tears!

It was Soren! My boy! My first born! In Chicago! On my plane! Sitting next to me!!!! He had changed his work schedule around, I thought he’d been working in Newark but he’d been working in Milwaukee, and got himself a ticket on my plane. With me. Tears. Copious amounts of tears. And hugs. And pizza. And water. And my boy all to myself for an hour.

He’d been nervous I’d miss my flight. Nervous I wouldn’t move up to the front. Nervous I’d already eaten (I hadn’t, I was starving). He’d asked every person waiting to board in Chicago if he could skip ahead, be first in line, to surprise his mom. Every single wonderful person said “yes”.  Every single wonderful person watched me cry with joy as they boarded that plane.

I cannot tell you how much that little gesture meant to me. How much it melted my heart to have my son work so hard to pull off that surprise. For me. I’m crying again as I type it. You always hope you raise your children well. That you raise strong, kind, happy adults. And that they love you after all the parenting you have to do. My hopes have all come true. I raised some amazing kids. I’m beyond proud of each of them. The only thing that would be better is to have them all here. Maybe not all at home, but in the same country at least. Someday.

My only picture with Soren (Enzo & Mieke)… I’m learning how to take selfies. Soren got me a new phone too ❤