We were up by 5:30 this morning for a quick breakfast, a last sweep around the apartment for the boys' things (only some socks, deodorant, and hot pepper jelly were unpacked), hugs from Lisa, and out the door for an hour-and-a-half drive for their flight back to their mom's. The soundtrack for that part of the trip was Lynyrd Skynyrd's All-Time Greatest Hits. David is learning to play guitar -- he has both the talent and the passion for it -- and he loves Freebird.
Traffic was light on the interstate, right into Charlotte, and there was no line at the airline check-in counter. The clerk asked me how old the boys were, and as I told her 16 and 14, I automatically asked if there was any way I could go back to the gate with them. I was astonished and delighted when she said sure, she just needed to see my picture id!
The line through security must've taken 20 minutes, and the boarding passes didn't tell us which gate their flight left from. The departure board did, and we were off to gate A5. When we got to the gate, the flight was already boarding. There was just enough time for one more hug each, and then Andy and David were out of sight down the jetway.
I stayed glued to that window, even through a conversation with a couple of ladies on their way to Memphis. I watched the jetway being moved away from the plane, the plane being pushed back to the taxiway, and then the plane taxiing away. Ten minutes later, I watched it take off. As it did, I swore I wasn't moving as long as it was in sight. And I didn't.
The soundtrack for the ride home was Montgomery Gentry's Some People Change. It was much, much lonelier this time.