Precious Moments

I just had such a sweet experience that I had to share it with you. One of my daughters went skiing for the weekend, she lives in LA, and I volunteered to baby sit for her very elderly 15 year old dog. And tonight, someone had to meet her at the airport between two flights, to bring her dog for the trip back to LA.  I started a book yesterday, and usually when I write, I don’t leave my office (or my home) until I finish. I don’t get dressed (I wear warm old nightgowns with sweaters over them—not a pretty sight, but cozy on cold nights), I don’t go out, I don’t see anyone, I often don’t even read phone messages. I just lock myself up until I finish the first draft, because if I stop, I lose the thread of the book (or I think I will), so I stay home and stick with it. I make very rare exceptions except for emergencies (as I used to tell my secretaries, warning them not to interrupt me: that means there has to be fire or blood involved), but I usually try to plan my writing schedule when there won’t be interruptions, other obligations, or family events (I often squeeze a book between 2 kids birthdays, or write before or after a holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving. I plan my writing schedule long in advance). And suddenly tonight, after I’d started the book yesterday, I knew that someone had to take my daughter’s dog to the airport, where she had a two hour layover on her way back to LA. Two hours. At the San Francisco airport. Only twenty minutes away. Although someone else could have done it, the temptation was just too great.  I don’t see enough of her, and we love being together. Although SF and LA aren’t very apart, between her work and mine, and my frequent trips to Paris, and all the books I write, we really have a hard time seeing each other more than once every couple of months, which just isn’t enough. I have an easier time seeing my two daughters in NY, because I always stop there for the night, to see them, on my way back and forth to Paris. But for some reason, probably because we’re both so busy, LA is just harder to arrange. When I’m free, she isn’t, or vice versa, or she gets a freelance job at the last minute (she’s a fashion stylist, consultant and editor, busy life), and it’s hard to work out. But tonight she was going to be so close. And book or not, there was no way I was going to miss a chance to give her a hug.

So despite the book, and my self-imposed isolation, I got dressed and went to the airport, and took the dog, and it was such a thrill to see her bounce out of the airport after her ski weekend. (Even though I lent her ski clothes she made fun of!! But wore anyway. She had the nerve to call them ‘vintage’!!! My favorite ski suits imagine that!!) She climbed into my car, and we spent an hour and a half talking and laughing and gossiping, and chuckling, and having a good time, talking about nothing in particular, and enjoying each other, and even hugging and holding hands, and trying to figure out when we can next see each other. It was just perfect, and really fun, and I was so happy I had decided to go out to the airport, and not worry about the book!! She is sooooo MUCH more important than a book, all of my kids are!!!

The moment came at last when she had to check in for her next flight, and I walked her into the airport with a lump in my throat and an ache in my heart. I hated to see her leave. The little time we had together had been so sweet. We hugged about five more times at the entrance to security, and I reached out for just one more. And then she went through security with her carry-on and her dog. I had tears in my eyes. She’s in her 20’s, but they remain our babies forever, no matter how grown up they are. As I stood gazing at her going through security, like a watchful mother hen, an incredibly grumpy security man told me to move away (as though I was a threat to airport security, waving at my daughter, a harmless woman with tears in her eyes.)  I stepped aside, blew a few more kisses and waved again, and that really pissed him off, scowling at me he told me to move far away, and pointed to a distant corner, where I could still see her through the glass wall. He must have had a really bad day, or a miserable life. In any case, I moved, and found myself standing next to a Greek man, waving just as frantically at his daughter, who looked about the same age. “Your daughter?” He asked me and I said yes, “Me too,” he said, “she lives in Vancouver”. I told him mine lived in LA. And the two of us were waving and blowing kisses at our two girls, who were blowing kisses and waving back. I was suddenly reminded of leaving her on the first day of school in Kindergarten, or standing mesmerized at the window of the hospital nursery where they are so brand new. Nothing had changed. We loved them just as much, and seeing them leave was clearly hard for both of us and our girls. (My family travels a lot, as do I and I normally don’t go to airports to see them off, but this special moment was like a gift when I could have an hour or two with my daughter in the midst of her travels, when I might not see her for another month or two).  “They’ll always be our babies”, the man commented next to me, and we chatted then about how old they are, what they do for work, how often we see them, as we continued to wave through the glass wall, and our girls continued to wave back. And then finally, they passed to the other side of security and we couldn’t see them anymore. I saw that the man had the same tears in his eyes that I did, and surely the same lump in his throat, as his daughter disappeared. “Good luck”, he said wistfully, and we shook hands…..good luck with watching them grow up….saying goodbye….watching them leave…..standing in an airport all alone, and wishing you could turn the clock back to another time, when they still lived at home, and you never had to say goodbye.  I went back to my car and drove home, thinking how lucky I was to have these precious moments with a child I love, and how blessed I am when I see them, for however little time and far too seldom, living in different cities now from several of them. That 90 minutes of hugging and talking and laughing today really was a gift, an island of joy in a turbulent world. And all I could think was Thank God, I stopped working and went to the airport to see her, even for a short time, even if it slows the flow of “genius” for an hour or two—who cares??? I was so grateful for that time with my daughter, and that I’d been smart enough to seize it, with the excuse of taking her dog. The Greek man I chatted with had the same feeling I did, of how lucky we were. Such tiny precious moments…..I will never forget them, they go in a memory book of motherhood and get tucked deep into my heart. And on the way home, she texted me from the plane, and felt the same way I did, of how lucky we had been to have those precious moments today…..I smiled through my tears when I read it…..what a beautiful day.

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20 Comments so far
  1. Debra Locum January 23, 2012 5:22 pm

    I am contacting you about the recent purchase of the above mentioned book. I was reading your book when I reached page 182 the next page is 119 again to 150. Then it begins at page 215 after page 150. The book was printed by Delacorte Press in New York . I purchased the book at Target in Mount Juliet, TN. I would love to know what happens between page 182 to 215. This is a new book. Thank you and you are my favorite author. I have all of your books. I just thought you might want to know about this. GOD bless and have a great day.

  2. thackery January 23, 2012 5:48 pm

    Dear Ms. Danielle Steel,

    Thank you for your lovey story on your daughter at the airport.

    Parents and children. A gift from God. Communication unit as human beings. Although there are difficulties to overcome in the world, such communication unit can help each other to live happily as much as possible. She is Zara, isn’t it? Of course already finished reading “Leap of Faith”. “Evil and Good” described in the form of characters. I like Marie-Ange who would help great aunt and endure her fate under the suffocating environment like getting up very early in the morning or something. As English is my foreign language, it will stir my imagination strongly rather than Japanese-written ones. It’s really exciting for me to read your works, while sometimes sending my feelings to you. Thanks again for your story.


    Your friend and reader
    Toshiaki Hida

  3. Lisa Wood-Fluent January 24, 2012 11:16 am

    Ms. Steel
    I just finished your book His Bright Light ( in 2 days) and cried through half of it. I am an International Flight Attendant w American Airlines and started 22 years ago. Spending many nights in hotels and away from my family I decided to force myself to start reading. I picked up 3 of your novels in 1989 and have been reading your books ever since. I always thought you were (are) such an amazing writer but now that I’ve read your story about your son Nick, I am truly amazed at the amazing Mother you are as well. I have a 13 year old daughter and can’t begin to imagine what the last 15 years of your life has been like losing your adored son. It definately was enlightening and touched my heart. I’m so glad you shared His story and glad I came across this book in our book exchange at work. I didn’t know of your loss and so terribly sorry to read about it. I’m sure you still think of him 24/7. What a handsome son. I also have a love for music and getting ready to dig into iTunes to find his songs. Looking forward to listening to him sing. Thanks again and God Bless 🙂
    Lisa F

  4. Lorraine January 24, 2012 4:17 pm

    I got a lump in my throat reading this. It never goes away, does it, missing them? I felt so blue when my daughter had to go back after xmas this year…..such an empty feeling….I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it….glad you had that time with her….Love, Lorraine

  5. CAROLOLIVER January 24, 2012 6:31 pm

    Hello Danielle,
    Wow…good story…I am glad it worked out for the both of you….almost done reading Irresisible Forces….
    and I finally saw the Movie Safe Harbor…I had not read the book yet..although I have it waiting…that was some role for Melissa Gilbert…speaking with a french accent…loved the story and the scenery…always San Francisco and the beaches…in so many of your books…and of course…Paris…love them…
    thank you….
    Carol O. in So. Cal.

  6. mike reid January 25, 2012 2:08 pm

    I love going to the airport – its always fun & exciting – isn’t it great to just sit back and take a break once in awhile to cherish these special moments – with your kids!!! sincerely mike

  7. mike reid January 25, 2012 6:21 pm

    Cheer-up Danny – things will get better I’m sure! Everything happens for a reason – I like the way Barney Five had to express his control of the situation – hahaha – reminds me of the politicians in Wash.D.C. & the state of the Union. Your true friend – mike

  8. Pilar de la Peña January 26, 2012 10:08 am

    Dear Danielle,
    Thank you very much for sharing all those feelings. In my case, I’ve been the daughter who had to go away to work and, after 25 years going away and coming back, my heart still aches every time I have to say goodbye.
    Thanks for your books!
    A friend from Spain.

  9. Sue Yen January 26, 2012 10:08 am

    Danielle Steel, I salute you!
    Your perseverance, your humility, and limitless love…You are an awesome role model. I am bowled by your strength in how you can love and forgive your ex husbands.
    My Kindle Fire led me back to reading fiction. My last read, in my teens, was Barbara Cartland. Career, family, life, biz and spiritual books took over – the latter filled the hole from loss of sibling and best friend.
    I hurt again when I started reading ‘His Bright Light’. Nick’s pictures glows. Amazing. I rarely input online but I was so mad at the incompetent psychiatrist and the foot dragging psychologist. I googled to find a way to ask why you didn’t fire him the first year. At the very least he could have consulted someone like Dr Seifried. He owed you his best effort. I was all fired up and asked my husband if the Psychiatrists Association could improve on best practices. He thinks there is no measure for competency in this field unlike treating diabetes. As a GP (a dying breed) working for an inner city practice, he’s seen some psych’s who don’t know all about medications and also seen patients with mental illness induced by prescription drugs. I forget all licenses to do business are not guarantees of competence. When you wrote this book, you endured the hurt to point the light for others. I am reminded that finding the right healer helps deal with caring for loved ones. Is it possible for you to list/link in Nick’s Foundation names of competent mental health specialists – who’ve demonstrated their competence. This is very critical when it comes to treating illness and managing health.
    In closing, your books are well written – truly professional (and glad you leave out religion and politics). Also, your blog sharing on motherhood with your adult children helped me. I can let go then of what my 6′ plus’ profession ought to be. I bumbled my way thru parenting one – don’t know how my parents raised 10 of us.
    Thanks again for all you do. sue

  10. M. Betzel January 28, 2012 3:04 am

    Hello Danielle,
    what a wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing. Beside writing, life moves on and so I personally think, you made a good choice, visiting her. I think there was a kind of “drive” in your heart to leave the book and to go and see what life wanted to show you. And you did. And look, what you got …
    Even that awful guy at the airport fitted almost perfectly into the whole “life-scene”, I think. Maybe he was there to show the other side of the “love-dimension”. No love, time-tables, routines and so on….
    We should hear and follow our inner voices, just as the Greek man, who stood beside you.

    (Sorry for my German-English …)
    Best Wishes for you
    Michael, Germany

  11. gita January 28, 2012 9:33 pm

    Dear Ms. Danielle Steel
    I am a great fan of your books. I have read all of them and try to read The new ones as early as I get them…
    I get them easily in California when I come to visit my son and his family..
    I live in India and when my son and his family leave after visiting us, I have the same emotions as You mentioned.It is so hard to see them leave,but the re-union is also so beautiful. The time spent with them is great. I have three grandchildren who are the apple of my eyes.

  12. Maria January 30, 2012 10:19 am

    Hello, dear Daniela! My name is Masha. I transfer you greetings from Russia. How are you? I hope, at you all is good. In Russia you very much love. I have read almost all your books. They madly are pleasant to me. Especially where you write about Russia. She is “Zoe” and “Granny Dan”. They are very touching and lovely. Thanks you for all! I will be glad, if you answer me.
    With best regards, Mari.

  13. Jessica January 31, 2012 1:29 am

    Hello Ms. Steel,
    Greetings from Nigeria! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your amazing story with us. I appreciate. I feel the same way whenever I travel back to the city where I work after visiting my mum. I cherish those precious moments.
    My mum, sis and I love your books so much and you inspire me. My library is filled with them. My 26th birthday present is your book “Impossible” which my mum gave me on 6th January. 🙂 I was just about reading it and I stumbled on your blog.
    Once again, thanks for sharing your talent with the world. God bless!

  14. Jessica January 31, 2012 1:31 am

    Hello Ms. Steel,
    Greetings from Nigeria! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your amazing story with us. I appreciate. I feel the same way whenever I travel back to the city where I work after visiting my mum. I cherish those precious moments.
    My mum, sis and I love your books so much and you inspire me. My 26th birthday present is your book “Impossible” which my mum gave me on 6th January. 🙂 I was just about reading it and I stumbled on your blog.
    Once again, thanks for sharing your talent with the world. God bless!

  15. alba (dawn in english) January 31, 2012 8:05 am

    Dear Danielle Steel,
    I read some of your books. At first time, I never raelized what they awesome for me it was.
    I cry, I feel glad when I rode your books.
    And the most important thing, I change my mind when I finished one of them. Thanks for your books, I find my world.
    I live in Spain, and the books they were in spanish. Sorry about my ugly english.

  16. Joyce Smith February 5, 2012 10:14 pm

    I feel the same about my daughters,too. I remember the first day of kindergarten when I was the last mother to leave after taking my child to school. Concerning the airport, I lived in Alabama and my daughters lived in Oregon. I cried when I saw them get off the plane and when they got back on to go back. We sold our Al. house and moved to Oregon; I now live only a mile away from the girls.

  17. Shannon February 7, 2012 6:46 am

    What a wonderful post. My children are still at home with me and I will cherish my time with them even more. Thank you for sharing. You are a wonderful mother. You’re children are blessed.

  18. Judith (Cassel) Cupp February 9, 2012 9:25 pm

    Daniel, I would love to talk to you about writing. I have had a lifetime desire to write. You’re life and mine as so much alike, kids and husbands. I’ve read your books for years, and beside loving the reading of them, I am still in awe of your life and mine being so much alike. As busy as I know you are I am praying and hoping you would allow to me write to you personally and discuss my many ideas. I would give anything to be like an underwriter to my stories.Whatever that means. lol I would love to write an outline of my stories and let it grow from there, is what I’m trying to say. If you don’t have time for me I understand completly. If I do hear back from you,that would be great !! Thank you for great reading, you took me away from everyday life from time to time. That’s what everyone gets from reading your books . Thanks Daniel. truly, Judy.

  19. Fallon February 16, 2012 8:32 pm

    Dearest Ms.Danielle Steel,

    I’m currently reading Toxic Bachelors and loving it so far! Truth be told, there is not a book by you that I don’t love! 🙂 I started reading your books when I was in the 6th grade (so that was around ’94) and have been reading you ever since. Very touching story about you and your daughter’s 90 minutes of PRECIOUS MOMENTS! Very inspiring also. I have a 9 year old daughter and she is my world.

    Thank you for the AMAZING books! Love ya 🙂

  20. Linda Walker August 6, 2012 4:41 pm

    we all have too few precious moments