Grown Up Lessons From The Kid On The Plane

Pure unadulterated joy! You don’t happen upon it often, but when you do, it makes your day. My last sighting of pure joy occurred three weeks ago and I’ve been basking in the glow ever since. Just to clarify, I didn’t actually see anything. It was something I heard that touched my spirit.

It started with the kid on the plane.

I was on a plane packed with children of all ages, so even before takeoff there was plenty of commotion and crying among the young passengers. My thoughts turned to my own travels with small children. Many years have passed, but I still feel a kinship with parents struggling to keep their kids from losing it during air travel. But I was on my own and would soon be lost in a good book.

As the plane started the slow ride toward the runway, I heard the whisper. “Wow…oh, wow…”

The voice in the window seat behind me sounded like a boy, probably about 10 or 12 years old. From the middle seat, his mother encouraged him to get his camera ready because the real excitement was about to begin. It wasn’t transportation for this pair. It was an adventure. He, about to experience something new and wondrous; she, anticipating the moment when something old would become new again through her son’s eyes.

The boy squealed with delight as the plane picked up speed. I swear I heard his mother squeal right along with him.

As the plane’s wheels lifted off the runway, he could hold back no longer. His voice rose higher as the plane did. As the tops of buildings came into view he burst out with, “Wow! This is the most amaaaaazing thing I’ve ever seeeeen!” stretching the words as though singing a song. He oohed and aahed and bubbled over with joy, his mom laughing in low tones beside him.

I soon gave up trying to read. The boy was softly narrating his journey, enchanted with the view and pondering the world below. The bumps as we moved through the clouds. The tilting of the plane as it turned. That feeling of breaking free as we rose above the clouds and back into the sunshine. The rivers and patches of land far below. The little bag of pretzels.

The book could wait. The boy had me living in the moment, contently gazing out of my own window, seeing the world from a fresh perspective.

“Are we going to land on top of the buildings?” he asked as the landing gear descended and buildings came into view. I couldn’t help but smile as his mother reassured him we were aiming for the runway ahead. The landing was every bit as joyful as the takeoff.

The child’s enthusiasm for life was contagious and I caught the bug.

When I started out that morning, it was all about the destination. After months of anticipation, I was almost there. What a good time I would have once I got from point A to point B!

But that kid. He lived every single moment between point A and point B. There was no past and no future, only the present. He didn’t miss a thing. And because of him, neither did I.

This world isn’t all rose petals and sunshine. It’s so easy to get lost in a sea of negativity and worry and anger. How quickly we can lose sight of the spectacular little things hiding in plain sight. A child’s joy. A mother’s love. Appreciation for the journey.

It’s a lesson about being in the here and now.

I’ve lived long enough to know that every moment matters, but I’m grateful for the friendly reminder. It’s disheartening to see so many people lost in their handheld devices while life is going on all around them. If you’re one of them, I hope such a child breaks through and touches your life as this child touched mine.

Wherever you are, Kid, thank you. May you always live in the moment, appreciate the little things, and continue to spread the enthusiasm. Happy travels.

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Image Credit: Thinkstock

76 comments

John B
John B2 years ago

Thanks Ann for sharing.

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Beth M
Beth M2 years ago

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