Sitting in an airport for the first time in 6 years. That's a pretty long time for someone who conciders them self moderately well traveled.
I ended up with time to kill while I waited to board so I went to the Starbucks to grab a hot beverage. A young boy, clutching money in his hand, got in line while I contemplated what to have. He asked if I was in line and I smiled and told him to go ahead. He reminded me of my son, cute with a mop of messy hair. He ordered a chai, which is what I had decided to have. While he waited to pay he turned to me and said.
"You remind me of someone I think I know. Someone really nice." Flattered, and taken aback, I laughed and said something about how I must look like everyone because everyone is always saying I look like someone they know. He just looked at me weird. We moved down to wait for our drinks, his big chai and my little one. We chatted and made small talk. He was 10, about to turn 11. He was flying with family. KC was just a stop. I asked where he was flying and he said he was headed home. I told him I was headed to Las Vegas to spend some time with my husband while he was working there. He nodded wisely.
"It's good to spend time with family whenever its available." he said. "I don't get to see my mom very often." I told him I was sorry, that it must be pretty hard. He shrugged like it didn't matter.
"She's going to school out in Washington. It's been four years."
"Wow." I said, genuinely amazed. "Do you get to visit her very often?"
"Nah," he shrugged again. "But there's no use crying about it. It's not like she's not coming back."
I wanted to grab him and hug him. I could just hear the voice in his head, the one he was parroting, that had told him it wasn't a big deal, that he shouldn't miss his mom like a normal 10 year old boy. Then I flashed back to my own scruffy, jumble tooth little man, and the moment just an hour before when he held me like he didn't want to let me go, trying to hide his tears and his gentle spirit, trying to be tough, asking me to sing to him before I left because he loved me and my voice so much. They want to be men, but they aren't yet. They shouldn't be expected to be. And the fact that they are tender inside should never, ever be shunned or buried. They will grow up to be stronger, better men if that part of their spirits are left intact.
This Boy. He lights up my world.