In my house, we have stopped giving material gifts for birthdays and holidays to one another. We don’t have the space and more importantly, we do not need more stuff. My kids don’t need it. My wife doesn’t need it. I certainly don’t need it. Instead, our focus is on time, experiences, and creating meaningful memories that last far longer than disposable goods. One such memory was forged on a recent Saturday, when we celebrated my son’s birthday at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Birthday Celebration At LAX? A Perfect Gift For A 4-Year-Old
My son Augustine loves airplanes (I’m fully to blame). He loves airports. So what better way to spend a birthday than taking him to the airport for a few hours?
We arrived at LAX around 10:00am, watching a trio of planes fly over as we walked from Sepulveda Boulevard toward the airport.
I have “connections” at LAX…that doesn’t mean I can parade my whole family through security when not traveling. No, these are father-son trips until my daughter is old enough to join us voluntarily.
Our destination was the Tom Bradley International Terminal, but we cleared security via Terminal 4. Even from the windows of the security checkpoint, Augustine already got excited, noticing a fleet of American Airlines aircraft and a Hawaiian Airlines A330-200 bound for Honolulu.
We proceeded through the bridge connecting Terminal 4 to the Bradley Terminal, stopping to admire both the ANA 777 and JAL 787 we had seen landing over our heads.
The international terminal was very quiet. All the lounges were closed, including the Qantas lounge, Korean lounge, oneworld lounge, Star Alliance business class lounge, and Star Alliance first class lounge. Almost all restaurants were closed as well.
But despite depressed traffic and dramatically depressed demand, we enjoyed seeing a number of aircraft over the next 90 minutes. Augustine’s favorite was the Hawaiian Airlines A330 that matched his toy while my favorite was the Qatar Airways A350.
The beauty of this time was not just watching the airplanes, but the conversation I had with Augustine on a wide host of issues. When I look back one day on my life, I do not want regrets that I abandoned my kids in pursuit of wealth or power.
The one blessing of the pandemic is that I have had so much time with my kids this year and it has been a wonderful thing (most of the time, of course…). But there’s something extra special about going to the airport with your son and essentially having it to yourself. We had a great time and I hope Augustine will look back on these pictures one day and find them far more valuable than the United Airlines toy set my brother gave him later that day.
About 2:00pm we headed back to my car. Augustine was thrilled to see one more plane fly overhead, a China Airlines A350, as he played “crash” in the bushes with his toy A330.
An In-N-Out burger as a reward? Nope, not even on his birthday. We are doing our best to shield Augustine from the wonderful world of junk food that Daddy is addicted to…
There are some exceptions to my “no gift” rules. Books and flowers are still okay. Clothing in rare circumstances of dire need. But I strongly recommend you take your kids on a trip instead of buying them things they don’t need. Not only is the moment exhilarating, but the memories are sweet. Happy birthday little man. Daddy loves you.