I’m sure most of you tuned out my barrage of tweets as I was bumped from one flight to the next in my quest to get to and from the EVO Conference.
The conference itself was absolutely amazing. The setting was beautiful and the people I met had such an impact on me both personally and professionally.
For those who think it was just another conference, it wasn’t. The organization was top-notch, the catering rocked, the panels were powerful, the keynotes were inspiring, and the bonding was evident throughout. From the first day of arrival to a totally kickin’ closing party, it was a whirlwind of knowledge, laughs, and great times.
As much as I enjoyed the conference, I missed my family terribly. After being bumped from my flight heading to EVO last week, I was hoping my return home would go more smoothly.
Hah! Silly me. This is Chicago we’re talking about! This city hates me and clearly doesn’t want me around. For the second straight time, I was rebooked on an early morning flight one day later than planned.
The shuttle van took me on the 30-minute trek from the conference to the airport and just left me on the curb. I had no flight, no reason to be there, but I had nowhere else to go. Once again, I went from airport curb to hotel shuttle for another night away from my family.
I headed to the airport at 6am this morning in anticipation of being home by 7pm…plenty of time to enjoy some family time and tuck my kids into bed. But, after yet another airline snafu, my rebooked flight was delayed an additional 3 hours. I now wouldn’t be home until 10pm. Long after my kids went a whole ‘nother day without me around.
I was bummed. Sad. And on the verge of throwing in my “eternal optimist” towel.
As I headed down the escalator to baggage claim I heard a little girl shout, “Daddy!” as she ran to greet the father she’d missed. All I could think is that I so wanted that to be me. I wanted my son and little girl to jump into MY arms.
And they did.
It took me a second to realize that the little girl screaming “Daddy!” was mine. I looked up and saw my 8-year old son and 2-year old daughter sprinting towards me. They leaped into my arms and it’s a moment I’ll never forget.
Heather had surprised me by making the 90-minute drive to the airport. “We couldn’t go any longer without seeing you.”
That, my friends, is love.
And this is what turned baggage claim into one of life’s precious memories…one that I’ll forever carry with me.
I met my wife in an airport many years ago and we never looked back. It’s only fitting that I fell in love with her all over again in much the same place.