Ugly crying in the airport

We are those people. You know. The ones who cling to each other and cry at the airport right outside of security? The ones who ugly cry in public? That’s me and the kiddo. And you know what. I’m so totally fine with it. Kiddo got back from first semester of college Friday night. I even made a sign 🙂 because evidently I’ve turned into that person now too. (Like I went to walmart and bought poster board and glitter because I was going to be legit.).

Image of woman’s face with glasses and a mask showing through a face-sized cut out in a large white poster board with the poster board in bright colored and glittered writing saying “Guess who’s excited ___’s home!!”

I can’t remember the last time I went into the airport to pick up anyone. But the thought of kiddo returning from her first semester of college and being home really hit me hard in the feels. Which is extra silly in the context that I just saw her at Thanksgiving. And yet, as much as I have happily settled into living alone and as much as she has settled into her college and loving it, we miss each other and how it was living together.1 So, why not do the airport schtick?2

I don’t think I’ve ever cried at the airport. Hmmm. Hold please. No, that’s a lie. I can remember 2 other times. I grew up overseas and I do remember going back to the states once when I was probably 8 or 9 (yes, I flew by myself, no that isn’t just filed under “it was a different time”; let’s file it under stories for a future time) and seeing my grandparents’ faces and sobbing because I’d missed them so much (and I might have just been a bit relieved to see familiar faces after 20 hours of traveling alone). And I cried when I met my mom after living in France for a few years in my early adulthood and coming back permanently.

In any case, I knew I was going to have a hard time when my eyes felt hot just coming into the airport. There’s just something so poignant about “coming home” or greeting someone dear to you who is “coming home”. I stood with the sign for about 20 minutes before she got through the security gates (thanks shitty new airport at SLC – way to stupid design). It was sort of funny how I had fairly uniform reactions from types of folks. Men of all ages saw the sign and looked away IMMEDIATELY. Like, god, I don’t know what to think/how to react, so look away!!! Women my age were generally rolling their eyes or making other dismissive body language because I guess judgy, god knows I can be? Men and women my kiddo’s age who seemed like they might be coming back from college themselves gave me the crinkled eye look (masks yo) from their smiles. I got a couple of thumbs ups and cools, too.

In the end, she came through security and saw the sign for about .2 seconds before we clutched at each other and cried. And then laughed at the fact that we both cried. Hard. Ugly. I don’t think either of us would have prevented it, even if we could have. It’s nice to let your love leak out of your eyes every once in awhile. 

1 – Kiddo confirmed. While she loves school and being away, she misses me and our little home. So there.

2 – Extra side note, we will one day do the airport reunite with the obnoxious, overly happy, hobbit reunion style big ah-ha-ha-ha laugh. You know what I mean… happens in LOTR movies a) in the Fellowship of the Ring after Frodo is “healed” from the wraith’s blade and b) in the Return of the King after Frodo and Sam are “recovered” from going to Mount Doom. And I had planned to do it… but then I cried. And kiddo was fully prepared to humiliate herself and do it with me… but she cried. Side, side note — we will totally do this at some point.

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