72 Days Without Michael: Day 1
Ben drew a picture of our family saying Bye Daddy and telling him how much we love him, and then he attached it to a lanyard so Michael could wear it around his neck, which he proudly did.
We were a pitiful sight, our family. We stood on the sidewalk outside of United Airlines, holding each other as all four of us just cried and cried. It's certainly not the first time we've been separated (thanks to touring productions, it took until our fourth wedding anniversary before we'd spent more time together than apart!), but it is the first time that the boys have been 10 and 7 and fully aware of what is going on and knowing just how long 72 days are.
While we stood there sobbing in a big family hug, one of the shuttle drivers stopped her vehicle and got out and walked over to us. For a moment I thought she was the airport police there to shoo us off (you're not allowed to get out of your car at LAX, you just gotta move along). She put her arms around Michael and I, and let out a big sob of her own. Through her tears, she said she was sitting there in her shuttle, watching us say goodbye and she just couldn't stand it, she had to come wish us well and tell us that it was going to all be okay. It was so random, yet comforting.
Finally I got the boys back in the van and I gave Michael one last squeeze before I drove away. I could see him sobbing as he turned, and the boys and I were wailing before I even pulled away from the curb.