LUGGAGE Lady

Contemplations about Life, Love, & the Pursuit of Meaningful Existence…

Archive for the category “Baggage”

When Parents Opt Out

Precious times two

“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.”

She beams.

“Where are you going?” (I’m thinking Disneyland based upon our destination.)

“California,” the older girl says.

“Southern?”

“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!

And so…

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

just fine…

gulp

blink

blink

💔

🌺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.)

You Are My Other Self

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“You are my other self” ~ traditional Toltec greeting

💕

What if

Before each encounter

I paused?

Allowing Toltec wisdom to wash away

Insecurity

Negative energy

Fears of being rebuffed or of overwhelming?

Might everyday interactions become valued affairs

Rather than ordeals to endure?

What if

I envisioned hearts sharing the same tender beat?

Might compassion and patience take precedence when going about my daily tasks

Unveiling another’s brightness by honoring them with my best?

💕

Dear Universe,

When self-absorption engulfs

And I fail to acknowledge those around me

Please jar my senses

Guiding me back to what matters most

Initiating connectivity

Generating goodness

Be it a smile, helping hand, or chipper word

Never alienating

Bridging spirits

Thereby enriching my own

Imparting sunshine

Ever cognizant:

You are my other self

💕

Dedicated to my treasured readers.

Thanks for your vitalizing support — my heart is full because of YOU! 😘

(💗Post inspired by M.J. Ryan’s life-enhancing book, 365 Health and Happiness Boosters💗)

*Photo: Temple of Zeus — Athens, Greece

To My Cherished Airline Passengers,

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First of all, I want to thank you for making my job so rewarding. Many of you have visited my galley to share tales of love, loss, hope, heroism, military sacrifice, business innovations, health hurdles, medical miracles, travel recommendations, and lifelong dreams. I treasure every inspiring conversation, laugh, and occasional tear we’ve shared. I strive to ensure your journey is enjoyable and stress-free. So, when you leave my airplane smiling, it warms the cockles of my heart.

Aviators tend to be perfectionists, and my husband is no exception. He prides himself on thorough communication, comfortable cabin conditions, and flying finesse. If he can grease his landing for you, it makes his day. He wants you to walk off his aircraft relaxed, knowing your safety and well-being will always be paramount.

We’re a seamless team, looking out for you and each other on every single flight. When emergencies arise, we have each other’s backs more than ever. I may work with different crewmates each week — but the paradigm never changes.

Add to this synergy, the way you selflessly volunteer when we need medical assistance or respond in some other gallant manner — like the time two of you saved me from hitting the ceiling during clear air turbulence — and you can understand why it’s devastating to have the trust between us compromised.

I don’t wish to marginalize the Germanwings tragedy. I just want you to know, as perplexing and appalling as the disaster is, it only reinforces our bond. We’re truly in this together. Which is why, every time my colleagues and I welcome you aboard, we seek to honor that trust by doing everything in our power to take great care of YOU.

Love,

Your flight attendant (aka: Luggage Lady)

* * *

Dedicated to the beautiful souls of flight #9525 — we carry 💗you💗 in our hearts, always…

Somehow… I’m Enough

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Celebrating our fifteenth wedding anniversary recently, someone asked, “Did you guys ever think you’d make it this far?”

As a flight attendant/pilot couple, we’re well aware our odds of marital success are lower than the dismal average. So we take pride rather than offense when such questions arise. But my lungs deflated when my husband replied, “Personally, I can’t believe she didn’t bail the second I started flapping my jaws about my past.”

I forced a smile. But for someone from a cohesive family, including parents who will celebrate their 52nd anniversary next month, enduring a childhood rooted in abandonment and abuse is anguish I will forever struggle to comprehend.

* * *

Mothers are supposed to hurl themselves in front of speeding trains if it means saving their children — right??? But what if you’re a mistake, whisked from your birth mother to an adoptive mother who subsequently opts for “children of her own,” leaving you in the hands of a broken man when you’re just seven? And what if this sole parent turns to the bottle to satiate his anger and to you with raging fists when liquor fails?

My husband needn’t ponder — this was his childhood. And the hardship didn’t end there.

As is frequently the case, the booze triumphed and rendered him an orphan at twenty-three. He pursued his flying dream relentlessly, but the major airlines required a medical history he lacked. In searching for this, he discovered a clerical error: His birth name had been left visible in the adoption records — a unique one, courtesy of his Czechoslovakian mother.

He was twenty-six when he found her. Living with a man in his early thirties, she was terrified that the sudden appearance of her secret son might result in yet another failed romance. After meeting him, she interacted sporadically before vanishing again. As a parting gift, however, she shared his father’s identity —  and the uncanny addendum: He was also an airline pilot!

Optimism skyrocketing, he couldn’t wait to meet his genetic blueprint. Unfortunately, their relationship was doomed from the git-go. Dad was married to a younger woman who couldn’t stomach my husband’s existence — forget subjecting her pre-teen children to such a scandal.

* * *

I’m ashamed to admit, the first time he told me his (less cheeky) version of the story, I quickly located my nearest exit. Don’t get me wrong, I was smitten from the start. He was (and is) my bona fide flyboy in shining armor — and yet?? Even now, in those unguarded moments when I spy a darkness in his eyes I can’t seem to brighten, inadequacy looms:

What if I make a mess of the love he’s gone a lifetime without

Letting him down like countless others?

What if I inadvertently poke holes in an already battered soul

Because my heart is too small?

What if I’m not worthy of the gem that he is?

💞

Then he pulls me into his resilient embrace

Eclipsing words

Halting time

Heartbeats melding

Thumping a tune of

Perpetual devotion

And I know

Somehow… 

I’m enough

* * *

♥ I dedicate this to every person struggling with family or abandonment issuesparticularly during the Holiday Season. I know how hard it is to open your hearts and let another in, but please know that what you’ve endured doesn’t define you. You prove this time and again with your steadfast attitudes and successes. YOU are precious gifts, inspiring others to overcome obstacles while finding the courage to forgive and trust again. And I, for one, am oh-so-grateful for your presence on this earth! xoxo ♥

Ode to Cabin Crew

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I wanted to be a flight attendant for as long as I can remember. More than twenty years later, I still pinch myself from time to time. Although my experience has been overwhelmingly positive, there’s a dark side no one really discusses. We’re supposed to be social butterflies with contacts spanning the globe and bags expertly packed for our next exotic excursion, after all. Lonely, isolated, and disconnected are probably not terms most would associate with cabin crew. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Maybe part of it is that we’re so busy caring for others that we forget to care for ourselves. Perhaps we bottle up the day’s negative energy, like the mountains of trash we collect but forget to throw away the former. Or maybe because we’re trained to calmly handle countless emergency scenarios, we’re terrified to admit when we need a lifeline of our own. Whatever the reason, we must do our best to look out for our sky family, honoring the fact that we’re forever united by wings…

💗I dedicate this to a dear sky angel who left this world far too soon. Rest in peace, sweet friend.💗

✈🌎 ✈

Hired for our upbeat personas, quick wit, and reassuring smiles

We’re kindred spirits united by similar dispositions

Our aluminum-tubed office affording a collage of continuous change

Crewmates bonding as seamlessly as the airplane generates lift

 

Perhaps it’s the liberation of zipping

Seven peaceful miles aloft across azure skies

Teetering on sparsely padded jump seats

We share stories those closest to us may never hear

 

Whether swapping tales of adventure

Or unfathomable challenges, lessons, and heartache

We inspire and garner fresh perspectives from one another

A myriad of personalities merging at 37,000 feet

 

Not just a career

But a dynamic lifestyle

Cherished wings

Symbolizing fortuitous passage to a boundless world

Thump against my ever-grateful heart

 

And yet – somewhere between the ‘hellos’ and ‘goodbyes’

A sense of impermanence looms

We’re independent souls

Or we wouldn’t have chosen this profession

 

But sometimes

When that hotel room door clicks shut at the end of a grueling day

A lonely heart slips beneath the covers

Brushing away a tear or two

And questioning

“Who’s going to have my back when my smile falters?”

✈ 🌎 ✈

(♥ Photo courtesy of a dear colleague’s friend. Check out her site, featuring the precious model above: http://karlaquiz.com ♥)

🌎 See also: Love Letters to Malaysia Airlines

Interacting Impeccably

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With every word spoken

Opportunity unfolds

A magical mechanism

Weaving the story of our days

Intent

Feelings

Dreams

Who we truly are

An unparalleled energy force

Powerful seeds planted in fertile minds

Yet, a profound choice exists:

Engage the world with integrity

or

Dampen the spirits of each soul we encounter

♥ ♥ ♥

Imagine the exhilarating, cumulative impact

If we chose to:

Vanquish negativity

Shun gossip

Eliminate needless emotional poison

Harnessing this uniquely human gift

By honoring our word

Sharing only truth and love

Leaving hearts full

And smiles wide

Infusing glee

Interacting Impeccably…

 

♥ ♥ ♥

Inspired by Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements — an absolutely brilliant read I cannot recommend highly enough! 💞

Not Goodbye — Just So Long for Now

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I remember lugging my backpack around Europe in the summer of ’88, enviously eyeballing the tour operators in their air-conditioned buses and thinking, must be nice. Soon though, it became clear that those peering from behind the fancy tinted windows were limited to staged visits at predetermined sites — extemporaneous exploration excluded. At twenty-one, immortality remained a reality but a wisp of doubt lingered: Perhaps bucket list pursuits came with a use-by date?

When I met my husband, he sported a fused ankle bone with a few steel screws drilled in for good measure (a youthful act of…let’s just say a lapse in judgment he’ll never forget). Besides triggering airport security (ever spy that airline captain standing spread-eagle?😜 ), the impeded mobility continues to challenge. Therefore, we never squander opportunities that may prove impossible tomorrow.

Blessed to work in an industry that allows generous vacation time and travel deals, we’re off to hike Machu Picchu — an itinerary that has us traipsing some forty miles through the Andes at altitudes exceeding 15,000 feet. We’ve been training, but I’m more harvest hen than spring chicken and hope I haven’t overestimated my prissy-girl parameters to my own detriment. Just praying I’m not the one they strap atop the poor rescue mule.

As this Bag Lady vanishes from the grid for a while, I wish you renewed celebration of life’s true fortunes: Smile ’til your cheeks ache, laugh readily with wild abandon, love yourself and all you touch whilst delighting in your every aspiration! I’ll be hyperventilating beneath celestial Peruvian skies…

Not Goodbye — Just So Long for Now! ♥♥♥

Hometown Tourist

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Melting into your trance

We scamper aboard

Eager passengers

In pursuit of surprise

Sweep us from the ordinary

Rivet our senses

Broaden our character

Unearth perspective anew

Many dream of traveling “someday…”

But life’s obligations intervene

Time and money earmarked for other things

Yet

Adventure beguiles daily

No pricey ticket or suitcase required

Come hither

Sidle up

To that well-grooved chair in the corner cafe

Throw your heart’s eyes open

Hone your gaze

Feast upon the flurry of everyday charm

Donning the inquisitive mindset of a

Hometown Tourist…

Postponing Life for a Braver Day…

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Ah, that exhilarating dream…

Abounding with infinite possibility

You courageously hover

Heart booming

Butterflies swarming

Unknowns blazing upon your cheeks

Yet you swallow, unflinchingly, against a cottony tongue

Reigning in skittered nerves

Harnessing the river of trepidation rushing from brain to toes

You’re empowered

TRULY ALIVE

Cascading through anxiety

Delving untethered into the wild blue yonder

Staring life squarely in the face

Invigorated by freedom so delectable

Willing the sensation to never end…

⚓️⚓️⚓️

…But the alarm clock jars

Severing your fantasy

Grating beeps lurching you back to reality

Into the greedy clutches of a well-known thief

Your mind spirals downward

Engaged in a dizzying battle with itself

Rooting you in place

Incessant “what ifs”

Serving as your rusty anchor for longer than you’d care to admit

Panic’s prisoner

Postponing Life for a Braver Day…

Reeling with Gratitude

Blog of the Year Award banner 600

very-inspiring-blogger  sunshine-blogger-award-2

I confess: I’ve spent a lifetime playing it “safe.” Unless I could spy a clear-cut path to assured “success,” I shied away from “risky” opportunities. In regards to my writing, I surmised, better to be unread than to have my creativity slaughtered by critics!

Then, I met my husband and tried to wrap my mind around his life-story:

A high school oops given up for adoption…a ward of the state for seven months…adopted by a couple who would divorce by his seventh birthday…raised solely by his adoptive father who turned to the bottle to ease his solitude…beaten routinely…escaping to join the Air Force…only to return home and helplessly watch his only parent succumb to cancer…orphaned at twenty-three…after which he would track down biological parents who ultimately wanted nothing to do with him…

???!!……………………………………………………………….!!???

First off,  I could not fathom how a man forced to grow up with zero maternal love was capable of loving me so completely. Furthermore, how did a person raised under a banner of rejection and abuse achieve such sky-high dreams? I, a child blessed with a “Beaver Cleaver-type upbringing,” had known no such hardship. How could I begin to understand the anguish of not having a soul on this planet to call family?

I’m not qualified, I silently panicked! What could I offer — besides unwavering love?

I did the only other thing I felt capable of — I started writing a fictionalized version of his experience. What started out as an education about the lingering wounds of adoption, evolved into an endeavor that superseded fear. One I will never give up on until it is worthy of ALL who have walked — for whatever reason — in abandonment’s painful shoes.

Rehashing a manuscript, again and again, can leave one numb. Starting this blog inspired me to keep my writing fresh. Where I struggled in my fictional world, here I found salvation. But NEVER in my wildest dreams did I expect to find such an incredibly supportive community…

Reeling with gratitude, I can only bow my head and say — THANK YOU!

***

Special Thanks to:

Teacher as Transformer who nominated me for the Very Inspiring and Sunshine Blogger Awards. He is truly the teacher we all wished we had in our younger days. I am elated to have discovered him — better late than never!

Global Light Minds who nominated me for Blog of the Year. Wendy’s daily snippets are my number one inspirational indulgence. Follow her, you won’t be disappointed!

***

I wish to nominate the following blogs:

Eric M Vogt’s Blog — His intriguing background captured me from the git-go, but his amazing writing will change your world for the better…

Untetherednunbroken — Beautiful, eloquent, soul-stirring and so very real…

The Silent Muse — An incredibly prolific writer. My finger hurts from hitting the LIKE button so often…

Aarthi — I have no idea how she writes so consistently beautiful every single day…

MindRetrofit7 — Add another star already, Angel!

Global Light Minds — Add another star, Wendy!

Withering Words of Mind — Kent is new on the scene but certainly not new to the written word, what a magical find…

For all those I missed in this talented pool…or haven’t had the privilege of discovering yet, I can’t wait to read your delightful words!! XO

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