Life. In Real Life.

Yesterday was one of those particularly rough travel days. Flights delayed. Connections missed. And another unplanned night away from home. (Although, six hours in the Sioux Falls Airport wasn’t as excruciating as it sounds.)

As I was waiting for my flight, however, I was watching a little girl, maybe 4-years old, running around with her mom. Since she was close in age to K-Man and because I’d already been gone for five days, I couldn’t help but watch her run up and down the hallway (“terminal” seems to broad of a description). Like most kids her age, she was blissfully unaware of the people watching her. Many of us stuck and of us smiling.

The little girl and her mom had been ahead of me in the security “line” (again, that seems like an exaggeration) and I noticed that they didn’t have any bags. “Traveling light with a little one? Bold.” I said. She just smiled and told me that they weren’t going anywhere, but instead were meeting her husband at the gate. I thought that was cool and wondered if dad had been away on a business trip for some time and if things like waiting at the gate was more easily allowed in a small town.

As the little girl kept running up and down the hallway, dad got off the plane. And he had indeed been on quite a business trip. Dressed in fatigues, dad had just returned from Afghanistan. I’ve never witnessed one of those military reunions live, in real life. I’ve seen plenty of them on TV, of course, and they always seem so staged. But here, in Sioux Falls, there weren’t any cameras rolling – just unbridled joy. True love on display.

The little girl wrapped her arms around her daddy and with what I think might be the perfect mix of laughing and crying, kept saying, “Daddy,” over and over again. He pulled a stuffed animal out of his bag and gave it to her – from what I could tell, it was hers and she was just letting him borrow it. Although there were probably 50 or more people just transfixed on them, I don’t think they had any clue. This family of three was in their own space, together for the first time in months, I imagine, and they couldn’t have cared less about anyone else.

I don’t have much firsthand experience with the military. I don’t have any good friends who have gone into the Service, and to my knowledge, I don’t personally know anyone well (or maybe anyone at all) who has been killed in combat. Reading Jon Krakauer’s story about Pat Tillman might be the closest I’ve ever gotten to “understanding” (HUGE exaggeration) what’s happening in the Middle East. In other words, I don’t have a clue.

But watching this scene unfold before me in Sioux Falls was an amazing moment. So many thoughts of my own life flashed before me. Yes, naturally, there was that cold splash of perspective. I get to be with my family every single day and I stress about things like social media. Am I “doing it right?” Is K-Man a happy kid? The natural, normal stuff. I’m confident in the fact that I’m a pretty good dad, so I don’t stress about that too much. And, I know that perspective is easy to find in all kinds of places.

But I also know that I can do better. And I think that’s what I’m going to take away. After all. We only get one shot at Real Life.

Comments
6 Responses to “Life. In Real Life.”
  1. Doug Moss says:

    Well written post. Thank you for sharing. Truly seeing and absorbing those moments unfold is good for the soul. And thank you for visiting Sioux Falls. Your talk yesterday was well done. Sorry about the lack of engagement from the audience. That’s the normal response from our group. Keep up the solid work.

  2. Kurt says:

    I enjoyed your presentation at the Sioux Falls Ad Federation gathering. (and your depiction of Sioux Falls in your blog post.)

    I’ve been to numerous presentations at similar gatherings throughout my 27 years as a commercial artist and your message spoke to the creative soul more than the marketing mind which I found refreshing.

    Authentically,

    KH

  3. Dad's Eye View says:

    Glad you guys enjoyed the presentation – I had a great time in Sioux Falls and look forward to coming back. (Rockin’ my Pheasants t-shirt as I type.) The event gave me much to think about and has sparked some interesting ideas.

  4. There are so many opportunities in life that give us perspective. I really enjoyed your talk yesterday at Sioux Falls Ad Fed. Thanks for sharing this amazing story.

  5. Dad's Eye View says:

    Shelly:

    Thanks for the feedback – much appreciated. I always say that perspective is easy to find. The hard part is keeping it! Have a great weekend…

    T

  6. Burlie says:

    Well written post. Thank you for sharing. Truly seeing and absorbing those moments unfold is good for the soul. And thank you for visiting Sioux Falls. Your talk yesterday was well done. Sorry about the lack of engagement from the audience. That’s the normal response from our group. Keep up the solid work.
    +1

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