“We are now calling all first-class passengers and travelers with small children to board United Airways,” the flight attendant announced. I stood up and adjusted Colton’s jacket, then turned to help Lilianna with her backpack. “It’s time for you guys to go now,” I said. I grabbed each child’s hand and escorted them to the gate.
Blue lights flashing, bright against the white snow, the sky dark, stars visible—although there was no time to look for them. I held my baby tight to my chest, bundled in blankets as I hurried down our driveway. His sister’s cries echoed in the otherwise quiet night, a cry of fear and confusion at our sudden disappearance. My heart was pounding, but I was outwardly calm, whispering to my little boy, “You’re ok, you’re ok,” desperate reassurance for us both.
Natalie and I met seven and a half years ago, when our oldest daughters attended Welcome to Kindergarten together. You can read more about her first impression and how Eli sealed our fate together in her support story, which she wrote when SFTT launched.
It was 3:00 in the afternoon, and my phone rang. Distracted by surrounding racks of colorful clothing, I silenced my phone and placed it back in my purse. I continued shopping alongside my mother, my aunt, and my ninety-something-year-old Grandma who were visiting for Easter. As I scanned the aisles—searching for my mom who has a history of disappearing while shopping—I found a moment to check my voicemail. A sound of ringing preceded a message I will never forget.