Just across for the 'special service' line at the airport is a bunching of chairs. It's here that we 'specials' sit while waiting for 'service'. I am waiting just off to the side, sitting in my chair and guarding the luggage. Joe will be back momentarily and then we can join the line up and get down to the gate.
There are only two people special enough to sit in the chairs and I glance over at them. One is a young woman with an intellectual and physical disability, the other appears to be her mother. They are chatting. The young woman has difficulty in modulating her voice and speaks louder than one should if one were waiting in a 'special' area. Mom tried to get her to lower her voice, but I could tell this was a battle she's lost a thousand times before and her attempts were only half hearted.
The young woman was clearly excited about her flight and talked about going on the plane and missing a few days of school. Mom assured her that missing those days would be fine. Then, as 'teenage' trumps 'special' every time, the girl went off into a long gossipy and catty discussion of her peers. Who was dating who. Who was too good to date who. Who was about to break up. What her best friend did that made her not her best friend anymore. Whatever her disability was, it didn't interfere with speech. Mom was good at keeping up, she clearly knew some of the kids being talked about and threw in some caustic remarks herself.
Suddenly, a woman from Special Services appears and says, "Are you ready to go to the plane now?" The young woman got up and began to gather her stuff. Mom stayed seated and I could tell by the look of concern all over her face that she was not travelling with her daughter. Mom said, "Now remember ..."
An exasperated, "Mom!" comes out of the daughters mouth. Mom gives her 'the look' and daughter sighs and responds, "Mom, I know how to take care of myself. I won't talk to strangers, I won't go off with people who say they know you if I don't know them, I'll wait for Grandma at the airport. Mom, you've got to trust me."
Mom said simply, "I do. Really, I do."
They kissed goodbye and daughter headed along trotting behind the agent towards the security clearance area. Mom now was standing right near me.
I said, "That had to have been tough."
She said, "I trust her, I do. It's everyone else I worry about."
"I know," I said, "but you can't let that worry stop her from living and taking risks."
"I don't," she said, "I brought her up to be mindful of risks. She's a good, strong girl. But still..."
"You're a mother."
"Yes, that's the problem, isn't it?"