Sometimes my husband and I went on dates to the airport to watch the airplanes land and take off. We parked the car on Post Road, rolled down the windows and listened to the powerful jets as they took off and landed. I really didn’t think that was an unusual sort of date to have with a boyfriend until I told my friends about it later on, and they thought it was funny. Maybe I didn’t think it was rare event since my Dad used to take our entire family to the Crystal airport when I was a kid. We stood by the chain link fence, stuck our noses through the holes and watched the little airplanes take off and land. The steady rhythms around the airport always felt sort of soothing.
Last weekend, while we were visiting our son Matt at his school during Aviation Parents Weekend, we waited for him at the airport while he had a flying lesson. My husband and I sat in our minivan, the cool wind blew through the open window while the steady, soft noise of the little airplanes buzzed around us. A lot of the more experienced kids gave their parents rides so many airplanes dotted the bright blue sky, and we watched as they meandered about. Sitting there watching the planes reminded me of the dates my husband and I used to have, and now we were waiting for our son to come down from out of the sky.
When Matt was finished with his lesson, we saw him walk towards the building with his instructor. I couldn’t help but think about when he was just a little guy standing out in our backyard with his little jean jacket on and his blond, wavy curls blowing in the wind. The airplanes flew right over our house. Matt would point his index finger towards the sky, and he held that hand close to the side of his face right next to his eye. Sometimes he wobbled as he tried to keep his balance while he stared up at the “big birds.” He would always announce when he saw an airplane even though we too could hear it traveling over our house and sometimes rumbling the ground.
As Matt grew, so did his knowledge of airplanes because his Dad was such a big fan too. They both studied schedules and would know when a certain plane was going to Japan or some foreign destination. They would ramble off the makes of the different jets and could tell which airline it was even if it was way off in the sky too far away for me to even tell.
Today Matt made his first solo flight. Ever since he was a little kid, from the time he could say the word “airplane,” he has always wanted to fly, and today he did, all by himself!
It might be funny to go on a date to watch airplanes, but somehow it all worked out!
The engine is the heart of an airplane, but the pilot is its soul. ~Walter Raleigh