I slip on my headphones making sure the fit is just right. I don’t want sounds escaping nor do I want any sounds to interfere with the sounds of my flight to nowhere. These moments don’t present themselves as often as I would like so I hang on to them longer than I probably should.
The music plays, its words, its tunes, the only sounds I hear. I close my eyes, let my mind go, and the here and now starts to disappear. My mental flight takes off, I see faces and places I know from times in my past. Some are more familiar and I wish I could stay, others I want to move from fast. There’s many sights along this flight, I see tears, I see fears. Then there’s the faces and smiles that I will cherish for all my years. The words and rhythm’s of random songs accompany me on this unplanned flight. The darkness behind my eyelids is a safe place to watch this mental movie as its made tonight. I fade in and out, revisiting places I have been and people I knew or maybe an imagined face. Then a song comes on, more than familiar, it takes me directly to another time and place. Perhaps a smile purses my lips as I am lost in a distant memory. Then another comes, one that I wish was someone else’s history.
Then like the sound of the captain’s voice on the speaker welcoming me to some place from where I have gone. Our baby monitor lights up and the twins are crying, looking for a shoulder to lay their heads on. I quickly race upstairs, returning to reality somewhere along the way. I enter the twins room, to find my wife crib side, soothing my daughter with her touch and the right words to say. She closes her eyes and rests her cheek on mom’s shoulder, the best place on earth to be. I pick up my son who is awake and crying, maybe a bit dazed by all he now sees. We all head to our room, in the dim light, and otherwise silence of night. Mom lies down with a twin carefully placed to her left and to her right. I already see the peace on my daughter’s face as her nightmare fades further away. The twins cuddle close to mom, and I know that’s just the place they’d rather stay. I can’t help but smile as I stand over them, hoping they feel safer knowing that I too, am near. My little girl smiles already asleep, and calm embraces her face along the trace of a dried up tear. I lean in close to kiss three precious foreheads that I adore. With a smile I whisper “I love you”, and silently slip out the door.
I think about the mental flight to nowhere I was on just minutes before. And I am happy that I was here, present, just a few steps from the twins’ door. My seat welcomed my return and the headphones were shaped to fit. As I returned for just a moment to my own imaginary cockpit. This time the songs weren’t random, but from a playlist I already had. See, now this was a celebration of the honor in being a dad. My flight to nowhere was done now, at least for this night. But it was long enough for me to sit down and enjoy the chance to write.