"Luke, don't take it. It's jacked up and we can always make you a new one."
About three months ago, I was taking the two younger mancubs to the neighborhood park and Luke insisted on bringing his paper airplane. She was a beaut......let me tell ya. Keri delicately folded a nice paper airplane made out of green construction paper right after breakfast. It was now mid-afternoon and the plane had dirt stains, a dash of orange juice, and more wrinkles than a shirt out of the dryer. It's flying days were pretty much over. Luke's death grip prevailed over my feeble attempts to persuade him to trash it. And just like that......"Crap Airlines" was joining our hike.
CAVEAT: I don't know if you are like me, but sometimes I really struggle on enjoying the journey to the destination. I like making the plans, looking at the different routes, making the decision, "guesstimating" the time, and then executing.....even if it's the 20 so steps to the mailbox. I get easily caught up in our fast paced, need to have it now, world.
Along the trail I was able to take in some of the mountain beauty that surrounded us. I was moving faster than the two younger ones and would stop so that they could catch up. Luke assisted crap airlines by holding it between his thumb and index finger. Occasionally, he would let it "soar"......and by "soar" I mean go smack into the ground. He enjoyed it and his younger brother, Jacob, seemed okay with this.
As we were in sight of the Park I saw a woman with two dogs off leash approaching us. They were puntable dogs and I wasn't worried about them tearing into my kids spleens or anything, but the woman felt that the dogs needed to be close to her. She called them back and knelt down holding them. With Crap Airlines leading the way, the mancubs went Mach 5 past me to see if a new friendship could be negotiated. The woman was nice enough to allow the boys to pet the dogs. I said hello and continued walking believing that the boys would be right behind me.
"C'mon, boys. Let the doggies continue on their hike." Wait. What was I seeing? Oh dear God, no. Luke was no longer petting the dogs.....he was showing off Crap Airlines. I was about 10 yards from this possible nightmare and closed the gap with the most awkward "run/walk" ever, hoping to intervene before she touched the disease infested plane. Her back was to me and was able to overhear the horror. Luke had just shown off Crap Airlines talent for crashing into the dirt.
Woman: Is that your airplane?
Luke: Yes. Here.
He extended the plane to her. My mind could not get the "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" to my mouth fast enough.
Woman: Really? You want me to have this?
I don't know why the "no" never made it out of my mouth. Thank God it didn't. The woman stood up and took the plane. The dogs seemed okay without her and danced around Jacob. She put her head down. Then she turned to me. Crying. Elated, but crying. "My mother is dying. This brings back so many memories." She wiped her tears. "This really means so much to me." She looked back at Luke and said, "Thank you. I will cherish this for as long as I live." And with that, she followed her dogs down the trail.
I was waiting for Luke to make some grand speech. But he didn't. He was just being Luke. He and his brother made a dash for the park. And I was left alone with an extraordinary moment. A moment that I almost ruined.
I have no idea why the paper airplane made such an impact on this woman. Perhaps the gesture? A memory of making crafts with her mom when she was younger? I'll never know. However, I did learn that EXTRAordinary moments can come out of ordinary walks with little mancubs carrying crappy, broken airplanes. And that love-tested broken airplanes can heal broken people.