I had decided for this flight I wanted an aisle seat. Seat 22D by you and your wife was the first one I came to, so I took it. Immediately I wondered if I’d made a bad choice.
You even gave me a “Are you sure” look. I failed to consider what may transpire during the 2hr 45m flight with your child you were holding. But I decided to embrace it and build a connection.
“Yeah. He’s three months old.”
“Congratulations! First child?”
“That’s a big deal.”
“Yes, it is.”
That 18-word interchange said a lot. The smile on your face and the light in your eyes said more. But you had much more to say without words the rest of the flight.
To start the flight, “Junior” (I never asked you his name) was asleep. The sharp tone of the captain’s voice changed that. It wasn’t long before he started letting you know it was diaper time. Your wife wondered which restroom had a changing table. Not only did you get the answer from the attendant-you did the deed yourself.
While you and Junior were gone, your wife got his mid-flight bottle ready, which he seemed to expect the second you returned. Without hesitation, you took the bottle and met his expectation. Then you burped him. Then you rocked him in various ways until he checked back in to dreamland.
Dad, I don’t fly a lot-two or three times a year. And I can’t say I’ve ever sat beside a couple with a baby. So the sample size is small. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say, “You’re not normal.” I would say, “Think about it,” but the proof says you already did.
You intentionally sat in the middle seat, which put you on bathroom duty and gave your wife as much privacy as possible. You did these things all without a spirit of having lost a bet or it was “your turn.”
Dad, I’d like to think I’m wrong, but I’m guessing the reason this is noteworthy to me is I don’t believe the average dad thinks ahead like that. And even if they do, I’m also going to guess the joy you had isn’t the emotion the average dad would have knowing diaper and bottle duty is part of the flight plan.
This is what your actions said to me. More importantly to be considered is what your actions said to your wife and your son. Dad, I congratulate you even more for how you are starting your fathering and husbandry journey. Sure, not every plane ride will go this well. There will plenty husband/father rides that you’ll be tempted to be average, maybe even below average. On those days, pause to look back on this one. Remember the honor you gave, the love you expressed, and the joy you received in return. My guess is you have an above average dad. For everyone’s sake, but especially your family’s generations to come after “Junior,” keep up this great start and may other dads follow your lead.
P.S. Thank you for making 22D an above average choice.
2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to 22E Dad on Southwest Flight 1477”
What a sweet commentary!
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