Flying from Burbank to Seattle via San Francisco yesterday evening left me feeling, well…sad.
Independence Day has been one of my favorite U.S. holidays since I was kid. One of my fondest childhood memories was the year that I ventured into LA’s Chinatown and came home with a cache of “real” fireworks. Oh what fun that was.
Now I have a son who is approaching two years old. Last year he was far too young to enjoy the fireworks at Disneyland or on July 4th. He slept through them as we watched from our front porch. This year, I had so much looked forward to watching them together with him.
The call came through on Tuesday morning. A critical meeting in Seattle on Thursday morning that could neither be re-scheduled nor teleconferenced. Even a 6am flight up to Seattle on earlier this morning would have been too late.
United had a convenient one-stop option from Burbank leaving at 8pm, so I booked it. It would still give me most of the day to spend with my family…I’d just miss the fireworks.
We did have a great day…with much laughter and good food. I’m so thankful for that. But before the grill had even cooled yesterday evening, I was on my way to the airport.
I left my house about 45 minutes before my flight departed: ah, the ease of flying out of Burbank. Upon arrival, I whisked through security and approached the boarding gate just as boarding commenced.
The flight was empty. Very empty. Here’s a look at the seat-map:
As we jetted up to San Francisco, I watched the sunset from window. The fireworks would soon begin. Would Augustine like them or be scared of them?
Nothing like an early departure and early arrival:
In San Francisco I checked into the American Express Centurion Lounge. Anita greeted me, telling me how nice it was to see me again. I felt like Meg Griffin…
Inside the lounge, I Facetimed Heidi and Augustine. The fireworks had just begun and Augustine was thrilled by them.
The connection cut off. I got some work done, tired despite having taken an afternoon nap.
My next flight boarded: it also went out with many open seats in first class. Such an anomaly on most days, but perhaps hardly an anomaly on the evening of July 4th.
More junk food:
Arriving in Seattle, I retreated to an airport hotel and crashed. It was after 1am.
The only solace: after the meeting I could fly right home.
This year, more than ever, I understand the pain that many businessmen and women go through in balancing their careers with their families. When I worked from home, this was never really a problem. I set my own hours and could work from anywhere in the world.
On a day like Independence Day, I certainly miss those days and my personal independence. But at the same time, this is the path I chose. I’m not a victim. Rather, this is a season of life that I trust will one day bear tremendous fruit. The key, however, is still balance. I’m looking forward to taking the weekend off. Perhaps I’ll see you at the Getty Center…