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Friday, October 19, 2007

A Long Flight Home

Recently I had the wonderful privilege of watching the completion ceremony of my oldest son and his fellow Pages after roughly five months of service to our nation as Senate Pages. Both the Majority and Minority leaders spoke at the ceremony and I had the pleasure of meeting them and several other Senators at the reception afterward. I can’t begin to describe the surreal circumstance of having several Senators compliment you on how well you have raised your oldest child and the fantastic service they performed in a historic job. As I am sure you can tell, his mother and I are very proud of Mark, however my purpose is to set the stage, not to brag.
After the ceremony it was time to fly back home, but our flight was cancelled and so we spent over twelve hours in the airport waiting for another plane to bring us home. During our time in the terminal I noticed a man with a baby boy about a year old. I noticed him partly out of habit; after a long Army career, I notice almost everyone. However, I have to admit I also noticed him because the man was travelling with a baby, but without his wife.
On the plane the man and his baby sat right behind Mark and me, and despite my fears, Daniel slept most of the way to Salt Lake where they call home. I learned baby Daniel’s story, how he was orphaned in Ethiopia and how he came to be adopted by the man and his loving wife. I realized that baby Daniel slept so soundly because he had travelled from Ethiopia to Rome to Washington D.C. and then finally to Utah; to begin a new life in the States, safe from the strife and hunger of his homeland. It was a very heartwarming encounter.
I mentioned to Daniel’s dad how appropriate it was, for me at least, that each of us was taking our sons’ home. Me bringing home a son, who I will all too soon have to let go into the world to make his way; while he was bringing home a son at the start of their journey together. I am more than a little envious.
I am certain I did not pass along any profound advice, although if I could have thought of some to give him, I doubt he could have remembered it; he was pretty well toast by the time of our flight. If I could speak with him again I would not provide advice, other than to suggest to him to stay the course he has started. I would strenuously advise plenty of hugs, kisses, conversations, and spending as much time together as he can possibly steal. For no matter the amount any of us barter for, time goes by in a blink and none of us ever, ever, get any of it back.
For the Sunday after the cards, special meals, and presents of Father’s Day, let me suggest you love the children you have, and if you have room in your home and heart, please look into the wonderful opportunities of adoption. I could tell that Daniel, and his Dad, have already gained so much.

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