Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Window Seat

By Patricia Cates
Sunset over the Atlantic

Although I am probably still a bit jet lagged, I will tell you a story. A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to spend 14 days in Italy with my best friend. I call her Cathy, better known as my 83 year old mother. She actually took me to Europe in order to fulfill a promise made over three decades ago. Her tales and photos of trips she had made overseas throughout the years, always came with the hype that we would someday experience it together. In the face of fleeting youth we got our passports in order and went. It was my first trip across the pond, and I can say without a doubt that it was absolutely the trip of a lifetime.
The most interesting aspect of this trip was that even though she generously footed the bill, she bestowed upon me something far more valuable. My dear mother gave me the coveted window seat.
This scenario got me to thinking that on a large plane, like those that fly across the Atlantic, not everyone can sit by a window. Only on small aircraft is there just one row of seats. In order for that giant bird in the sky to be balanced and get there safely, there must be a middle row. But who wants those seats? I know there are people who prefer the aisle due to its convenience. I am well into my middle years now and still desire the view out the window. Which poses the question:  When does one actually stop caring about having the window seat? How many times does a person have to have already flown to that same locale to no longer desire that rare view from the 30,000 feet? 
Although my mother has been on several European tours, she hadn’t been back in 15 years. With this being her "last trip" why didn’t both of us just book window seats?
Mont Blanc peaking in the distance
That’s when I realized that she gave me the window seat because she had wanted to see Europe from the sky one last time through my eyes. With me there she could experience seeing it again for the first time. I then understood that this vantage point was far more valuable to her than any reserved rate could ever be. I'm pretty sure the look on my face while flying over the Swiss Alps and seeing Mont Blanc for the first time was a key reason we went. 

It also dawned on me that perhaps the look on her daughter’s face while viewing the artwork inside the Vatican and the frescoes of Michael Angelo in the Sistine Chapel were equally as priceless. She had talked for years about the tears that filled her eyes when she looked up at centuries old frescoes, statues and depictions of the Savior. There were no words to describe such talent and magnificence. My mother wanted the opportunity to witness her daughter's face as she stood in awe.

Harbour in France
I do find clouds enchanting, however there was much more to be seen from those vast expanses of sky. We flew in by way of Frankfurt, on into Florence. On the way back to the U.S. we went via Rome. So in total we were able to view Great Britain and the Rhone River winding through the vast hills of Germany. On the way home we could actually see yachts anchored in the harbor of the French Riviera. I believe we also caught sight of some of Spain in the distance, although I am not sure where it ended or began. Our plane flew low along the deep azure of the Mediterranean coast and the view was spectacular.
My mother’s selfless example has inspired me to want to do the same for my children. In the future, if I am ever in the position to take a loved one on a trip that involves flying, I will undoubtedly make certain that they get the window seat. Even though I will be glued to that clear panel of glass , there's no doubt that it will be more rewarding to catch a glimpse it from behind their tresses. I look forward to someday watching their eyes marvel at the Lord's creations.
So for those who prefer the aisle, I think from now on I will presume you are all seasoned frequent flyers, and enjoy hearing the “oohs” and “aahs” of newbie travelers gasping at the enormity of it all. It is my wish that none of us ever tire of the view from above.


  1. Beautiful. I have told my mom that I don't want an inheritance after she dies- I want to take a trip like this with her while she's still alive! So glad you had that opportunity. :-)

    1. Just seeing this comment now for the first time. You should plan it Kasey. I would go through Gate 1 Travel. They are half the price of the other travel companies and just as good if not better! Let me know if you need any help planning. It's my most favorite thing to do...dreaming of places to go :)



Related Posts with Thumbnails