This is a letter that was recently posted on an internet discussion board, reproduced here with the permission of the author.
When you hear of situations where children are separated from one parent or the other by hundreds or perhaps thousands of miles, remember the pain of this father and stepmother, and most of all, the children who have to experience this special kind of hurt. Both parents have a responsibility to be there for their child. Don't move your child away from the other parent, and don't move away from your child yourself.
Went to the airport today... put my 8-year old stepson on the plane...sort of...
Went to the airport, he was his normal self the whole way there... we got him pizza, he was his normal regular self the whole time...
We sat and waited for his plane to start boarding. He ate pepperoni pizza and drank Gatorade. We all talked but not about anything deep or to any great length.
When they called his name over the intercom, to board the unattended minors...
He started crying.
And he wouldn't stop.
He hugged his daddy like....sheeesh, I haven't seen THIS side of him at all. Daddy told him it was okay and he'd be back for the summer and he'd be here for a long time and not to worry.
Stepson kept crying.
We started walking toward the gate and my stepson grabbed his dad like he was the last person on earth, that sort of dramatic 'I can't do without you' type of thing, and I was floored.
I've seen him cry before, but never like this. Everyone was watching us, I was sort of embarrassed but not really, I mean... he loves his dad and he's brave enough to show it.
So, we got him on the plane, after he held onto his father again, hyperventilating.
He got on the plane and I said to my fiancée "Maybe we should run to the store down the ramp and get him something to make him feel better". So we did. We RAN and ran right back.
The plane was still boarding and right when we asked one of the stewardesses to give my stepson the stuff we bought him,
Stepson came running OFF the plane ramp. He stopped at the door and there was a steward behind him.
Stepson was crying
The steward said "he was crying on the plane" and they couldn't get him to stop so he escorted him off the plane so his father could calm him down.
Uhhhh, ???????? Speechless....loss of words....beside ourselves with questions and still.... amazement, wonderment and awe that this child feels so strongly for his father.
Still, after all he has been through and all he goes through.
The scene that followed brought tears to my eyes when, after everyone else had boarded, the stewardess finally said to my stepson "It's time to go now."
My stepson was crying and hyperventilating, he hugged his dad and they said goodbye... he walked to the on ramp.... and turn around and ran BACK to his father and threw himself into his fathers arms just breathing so hard I wanted to break down crying... his tears were streaming, his breathing was erratic and he was hanging on for dear life.
Yes, it was as dramatic as I'm making it sound.
People were all around, with sad faces, trying not to look, but looking anyway, because it was unnoticeable.