At first, it was called Idlewild Airport. Then it became Major General Alexander Anderson Airport, and after no small amount of city council debate, it was renamed New York International Airport, Anderson Field. A month and two days after the assassination of President Kennedy, it became John F. Kennedy International Airport or simply JFK.
The first flight took off on July 1, 1948, with US President Harry Truman in attendance. By 1954 it had the highest traffic of any airport globally. In 2019, the airport peaked with nearly 60 million travelers annually, and estimates say it will reach 100 million by 2050.
While that may seem like a lot, it doesn’t even make the top 10 busiest airports globally. Nonetheless, I found myself waiting for our bags at carousel E1 on Monday night and a little girl taught me a powerful lesson.
She was probably four, and she had entered full-blown meltdown mode. Complete with cry-screaming, kicking, and general pandemonium. The father did an admirable job taking the abuse and waiting for the storm to pass.
With a preponderance of Aruba t-shirts, I imagined this little girl, who turned out have an identical twin, had just gotten off a long flight. Her father carried her to a quiet corner and I wondered what she wanted so badly. I might be projecting here given the cause of most of my temper tantrums, but I imagined low blood sugar played a role. As he tried to talk to her, and eventually set her down, I found myself experiencing a strange emotion - jealously.
At that moment, I would have given almost anything to be in that dad’s shoes. Here’s the thing, our youngest son is nearly 12, and I can’t remember the last time I picked him up. That moment came and went. I put him down and went on with my day. No photo. No video. Just one last time. It might have been taking him to bed, a fun toss into the sofa, or that time he tipped over on his scooter. I wish I knew.
Today, I’m reminding myself to treat these moments with reverence. A sunrise, the smell of shampoo, or a great cup of coffee. That moment when a friend put his hand on my son’s shoulder at his soccer game last night in a moment of connection. Or when I got home to experience the exuberant ‘shake their whole body’ way our dogs greet me. Or that smile on my wife’s face and the excitement in her voice as she describes our holiday plans (I messed that up, BTW).
I must cherish each swim, each hug, those grass under bare feet walks, that first fall fireplace night, or a walk with my princess buttercup. Those are the things that matter. When each one is over, it is one less moment I will experience in my life. I need to honor them.
While I ‘knew’ these moments mattered, that little girl taught me the power of the last time. She taught me to cherish each time. We never know when it will be the last time.
Enjoy today, friends.
Thanks for reading Better Today Than Yesterday (BTTY)! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.