I RECENTLY TOOK MY 9-YEAR-OLD along on a business trip that I will never forget. How often do any of us view what we do as an adventure? Yet that's what this trip was to my daughter, Calli, and what it became for me as I had a chance to see my world through her eyes.
Only a child would take the time to watch the pretzel-maker at the airport Auntie Anne's stretch the dough into long ropes, then carefully twist them into pretzels. “Mom, LOOK!” she exclaimed as the woman playfully spritzed flour at her. That woman probably makes pretzels all day long, and rarely does anyone stop to watch.
As we boarded the plane and everyone rushed to find their seats, Calli chatted up the pilots. “Is it hard to drive this thing?” she asked, much to their amusement, and launched into details about where she was off to. Then she grilled the flight attendant about the different kinds of airplane treats and the lady next to us about the book she was reading. All I could think of was how many times I had delved into my book and never looked up until we had landed. Who knows who I could have met if I'd tried?
Once we landed, Calli couldn't wait to hear that it was OK to use cell phones (Do you wait?) so she could call her father. “Dad, guess where we are? Dallas, TEXAS!” she practically screamed into the phone, as people around us smiled. “What time is it there? Do you know what time it is here?” She couldn't get over the time difference, or the fact that you can step on an airplane and in just a few hours find yourself in another world.
At the pizza place in the airport, the lady ringing up our order called her “Buddy.” (With short hair and a baseball hat, Calli can easily be mistaken for a boy). “I'm a girl!” she proudly responded. “I'm turning nine on February 6.” And so on. By the time Calli was done with her, the woman was giving her hugs and calling her “Honey.” As we rounded a corner, she stopped me to throw pennies into the fountain, commenting on how fresh the water smelled. Then it was on to the next leg of our flight.
When we returned home, Calli couldn't stop saying how friendly people are across this country. I couldn't stop thinking about how you get what you give. And about how easy it is to extend a smile, or to start a polite conversation. She reminded me to take some time to enjoy the journey, not just focus on the destination. The next time I travel, I'll do just that.
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