In early July I was flying north to see my parents, and I had one of the most life-affirming experiences, thanks to Emily.
Emily and her ~10 month-old little girl were already seated when I boarded the puddle-jumper. At first, I thought I saw a look of annoyed apprehension cross her face—for which I could not blame her: I’d been flying all morning too, and passengers are unkind to infants and toddlers on-board. What struck me immediately after Emily’s visage was the simplicity of her flying experience: no child-seat nor harness, no bulky baby bag—in fact, no luggage of any kind. Just a young woman in jeans and sandals with her young baby. When I sat beside them and placed my computer under the seat in front of me, the little one grabbed a drawstring on my jacket. And that began our friendship.
For 42 minutes, Emily and I chatted about the weather, our spouses, our families, our work—all of the big New Acquaintance topics. Her little girl spent half of the flight trying to fit the entirety of my jacket’s drawstring into her mouth, the other half trying to strangle her mom with it. It. Defined. Precious! :3
Nearly seven weeks later, the experience sticks with me. (In fairness, I always seem to meet interesting people on flights; hello to Dennis back from a month in AK!) A mom, a baby, and a stranger—no paraphernalia, no fuss. The little one never cried, never shrieked; she simply interacted and observed the world around her. I realized that this might’ve been what life was like for our tribal ancestors twenty millennia past: humans, just humans, the young, the slightly older, and the incoming generation. It felt very raw, very real, and very obvious—somewhere in that 42 minutes, the kindness, love, and harmony of life was laid bare.
So thank you Emily: sitting next to you reaffirmed my optimism for the human spirit. :]