When Parents Opt Out
“They say that abandonment is a wound that never heals. I say only that an abandoned child never forgets.” ~ Mario Balotelli
Working the last few flights of a three-day trip, I’m organizing the back galley when two little girls, I’m guessing to be around seven and four, come back to say hello.
“Are you our flight attendant?” the older one asks.
“I am.” I smile, a stack of napkins slipping from my fingers.
They rush over. “It’s okay, sweethearts. Don’t touch the dirty floor.”
Too late. They’ve already scooped them up, proudly dropping them in the trash.
“You look really pretty,” the younger girl says.
“So do you,” I say. “I love your shirt. Pink is my favorite color.”
She giggles. “Mine too, but this is actually my pajama top.”
“Well, it’s perfect — and it matches your shoes.”
“Where are you going?” (I’m thinking Disneyland based upon our destination.)
“California,” the older girl says.
“I’m not sure.”
“Are you getting off at the first or second stop?”
“The next one.”
“Then you’re going to southern.”
“Okay. ” She shrugs. “That’s beautiful.” She gently taps my bracelet.
“Just like both of you.”
They blush in unison, and I follow them to their seats, eager to compliment the folks responsible for raising such charming children.
“Are these your daughters?” I ask the woman they quietly slide past.
She purses her lips. “Oh, no. I’m just escorting them to a new home. They’re foster kids, and I’m their case worker.”
My lungs lock. “Well, they’re adorable,” I choke out the words.
Her eyes dart in their direction. “Yes, I suppose so.”
I flee to my galley, tears of disbelief pooling. They should be going to Disneyland — NOT a “new” home!!!! What happened to their parents? Why are these precious dolls floating around the system? And what if things don’t work out this time? Should I call my husband and tell him I’m bringing home two angels to shower with love — and anything else they’ve spent their tender years going without?? I write down my name and number to give the social worker.
But my head interjects, giving my heart a run for its money: This is none of my concern. Who am I to interfere? I probably wouldn’t even qualify as a legal guardian — I’ve never parented anybody!
I do nothing but serve them drinks and peanuts, all the while marveling at their sweet demeanor and impeccable manners.
An hour later they wave goodbye, sparkly-eyed and grinning. They seem so happy so — well-adjusted.
They’ll be fine.
I tell myself
over and over
🌺For many, Mother’s and Father’s Days trigger more feelings of loss than joy. I dedicate this to ALL those who’ve had to grovel (like my husband) for the parental love I’ve taken for granted.🌺
***Luggage Lady is off to the Balkans. I’ll return with more stories soon…😘
(Photo: From our 40-mile hike to Machu Picchu, Peru 2013 💕 Incidentally, this darling boy had two doting parents hovering nearby…I just loved the picture.)