Today, my Mom and Beth leave for Hawaii. They meet my Dad at the airport, where he is connecting from Philadelphia, and they all get on the same plane headed for Honolulu. I am a bit exhausted but it never seems like enough time with family. I realize a lot of people don't feel that way, but the only times I have ever needed a "break" from family was just to get some normal, routine things done, like I need to now.
At the airport, I park and help them in with their bags, due to my mother's healing wrist from her carpal tunnel surgery. She is nervous, not about the flying, but about getting to the gate on time. I get them their boarding passes and get their luggage checked in and walk them to the security line and my Mom feels better, there is still plenty of time. We all hug and say goodbye. They take their place in the security line and my Mom and I look at each other one last time. I can see on her face, because I know her so well, she wears the look of a difficult emotion, but to a stranger it might look like wonderment.
I turn my head and walk away, not looking back, but almost instantly tears spring from my eyes and I blink furiously. I do not make eye contact with anyone as I walk through the airport and tears stream down my face. I do not wipe them away because I imagine that attracts more attention then a transparent tear. But an airport is an acceptable place to see someone cry, right? It always feels this hard, every time, after all these years it is never even a tiny bit easier to say goodbye.
Later in the day, we go to the driving range where Paul hits golf balls and Poppy and I walk, our new routine. I take my time on the same path I took my Mom and Beth on the day they arrived in San Francisco. We wander off the main trail onto windy paths through the dense eucalyptus forest and it feels good to almost be lost in the woods.