"She turned the lights off - we were in complete darkness." Michele(Dance Instructor) said "close your eyes - relax your body - go to your happiest memory." "It probably sounds corny, but my mind immediately went to the day I saw you walk out the doors of the airport."
Elle didn't have to say another word - I knew exactly what she was talking about and I my eyes filled with tears. The scene from an airport - two years earlier when I walked out glass doors number ten of the airport across two cross walks to my Baby. She had the saddest eyes in the world and the biggest smile on her face.
Three days earlier Elle's had lived through a nightmare with her Dad Dick and I was a seven hour plane ride away in Hawaii celebrating my wedding anniversary over a holiday weekend. Talk about feeling like the worse Mom on the planet - your child is going through this horrific thing while you've been laying on the beach soaking up the rays.
I was in complete shock. I knew Elle had not been happy over there and why I had tried to limit how much she would spend there while I was gone. I had no idea that things were at a level of threatening my child's safety. When the full weight of the situation really sunk in I knew that I had to get on the first plane back home. It would take me two days and then finally one seat opened up on the redeye back home.
I remember looking out the window into complete blackness much like the situation I was coming home to deal with. The tears flowed non-stop down my cheeks as I thought about how lonely Elle (15 at the time) must have felt in that situation and I wasn't there to protect her - rescue her.
It seemed like an eternity - the longest flight of my life. When the plane finally landed I couldn't get off of there fast enough. I remember seeing Elle standing next to the car just staring at me. When I got closer she ran over and hugged me harder than she had ever hugged me before and she wasn't letting go. There we stood embracing - traffic passing by - not a word was spoken, but I knew what it meant - Mom I'm so glad you're home!
At first it broke my heart that something so traumatic had led to this memory. Elle haw so many good ones in the bank. Then I realized how awesome that her happiest memory was of me just being her Mom - as simple as walking out the airport doors and hugging her.
You do a million things as a parent that you wonder if your child will ever understand the significance. My daughter knew at that moment I had come home to protect her - her happiest moment.