Goodbyes, it's one of those things I'm not very good at.
Standing in the 5:30am Portland wind and rain, holding mother as she cried in my arms, was heartbreaking. I'm sure my absence is much harder on mother than on me. I am leaving once again for another continent, and with the exception of this weekend in Washington, DC, will be away from family for the better part of 2009.
Arriving at Portland International Airport this morning, I saw scenes similar to what I went through earlier; mothers saying goodbye to sons and daughters; families saying farewell to departing fathers and mothers. Before 9/11, I never noticed how many military personnel move through civilian airports. Since Oregon does not have a federal military base, and judging by their unit insignias, many servicemen and women I saw this morning are reservists and national guards being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. What a challenging farewell and start of a new year for their families!