BGSU Magazine Summer 2009
“Gate 5, at the end of the terminal.” These directions were pointless as this was the 14th time I had boarded a plane in this airport in the last couple years, almost always departing from Gate 5. My job with the federal government was requiring a lot more travel time than I had anticipated. I had become very familiar with Washington, D.C., the monuments and the metro system. I knew the best restaurants and I even started having dinner on my regular trips with friends I had met and grown to appreciate. With that familiarity came a love of this new, exciting city.
My marriage was going well. We were sneaking up on our five-year anniversary and I couldn’t think of any bad days. The two brightest days in that time were the births of our son, Jackson, and our daughter, Chloe. I woke up every morning feeling blessed to have such a wonderful family. We even had a wonderful family dog, a cocker spaniel named Tucker. So why then was my belly full of butterflies and anticipation when I heard the words, “Now boarding,” the same words that led me away from my family that I loved so much?
The week leading up to a trip filled me with energy and excitement. The idea of adventure was something I desired, even pursued. Walking down the passenger loading bridge, I experienced a rush of mixed emotions. I thought of my 3-year-old son and the last hug he gave me with a special, “I love you, Daddy” as I walked out the door bag in hand, knowing it would be at least a week before I received another hug like that. But the pull of the impending adventure prevented me from turning and running back home. I questioned myself. Am I selfish? Am I putting my own desires before my family? Guilt and disappointment were mixed with anticipation and excitement. How can I be at both ends of the spectrum simultaneously?
As I found my seat, put my baggage in the overhead compartment, and got settled in for the short flight, tears welled in my eyes over the internal turmoil and conflict I was experiencing. It was then that I realized, the special reunion I was soon to cherish is only made possible by the bittersweet departure I committed to now.
Ultimately, I believe, you can’t truly appreciate the sheer joy of returning to what you love unless you take the steps to leave. You can leave and still grow your feelings of love and support for those you’ve left behind. As difficult as it may be, time away from those you love does seem to inspire a better appreciation for them. May we all find that sense of appreciation, even if it requires first hearing, “Now boarding, Gate 5.”
Matt Ryerson ’93 | Sport Management-Sport Enterprise