Today I got to pick up one of my “Baseball Sons” at the airport. I was glad to do it, though the craziness of actually getting to get him IN the car was mind-blowing!
I made it to airport in plenty of time and sat in the cell phone lot until his flight landed. This is where Groundhog Day happened. My son didn’t have a cell phone so I waited the prescribed 25 minutes after his flight landed then headed to the terminal. On the first pass, I saw him in the terminal, he waved and I pulled to the curb thinking he was on his way through the doors. Then Broomhilda of the TSA pounded on my window and told me to move. Apparently, if your passenger isn’t trying to throw their luggage in the back of your car as you drive by going 35 mph you can’t pause to let them in. So I had to pull out and drive the entire way around airport.
Round two: Apparently, my son had to go back to wait for his bags, so before Broomhilda could get her mitts on my car window for the second time, I kept going. Around the airport I went.
Round three: This time, I couldn’t see my son anymore. I was worried butthankfully, Broomhilda was on break, so no worries for my windows. Back around the airport again.
Round four: After this trip, with my son still not in sight I decided to go park in the short term lot. Let me just say, Dante’s Inferno has nine levels of hell and Tampa International’s garage has twelve levels…so you can get where this is going. I’ve never gotten lost in a parking garage before, hopelessly lost. By the time I gave up, found the exit and spiraled down the nine levels I somehow had gotten up, I came to find that the ONE lane from the garage split into ten different pay kiosks…half of which were closed and the open ones were irregularly spaced with no rhyme or reason as to why that one was open.
Upon leaving the pay kiosk, the ten lanes immediately winnow down to THREE with each lane going to a different destination: back into the garage, airport exit and back to the terminal. My problem was that to get to the lane to return to the terminal I had to cut across seven lanes and as soon as you enter the lane for the terminal, three lanes from the main traffic merge into that lane. How I survived, I do not know.
Luckily, this time my son was at the curb, I slowed to 15 mph and he tossed his bag in and we kept going…(OK, I did get to stop but it seemed like I only slowed.)
It was so good to have my boy back. I delivered him to the Carpenter Complex. He checked in and then was ready to go to his hotel. When we got back to the car, he handed me the gift he had for Ross and I. It was a plaque he had had made, with a picture of him pitching that he had autographed. To the side was a sweet message “to his parents”. The specifics are just for us, but let it suffice it to say, it was literally the sweetest, most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received. It was hard to drive with the tears in my eyes.
Knowing that Ross and I have become part of this young man’s life is mind blowing and heart melting. Baseball brought us together. Baseball made us a family.