Forty minutes early to the airport...and still, we almost missed his big entrance.
This past Tuesday, I accompanied my parents and children to go pick up Uncle Johnathan, home for a chaplain's conference.
With eyes glassy and sparkling as they only do with fever, I watched my children run up and down the main aisle of the baggage claim area, one of the few open spaces those of us without a ticket are allowed to be in this era of the unfriendly skies.
Somewhere between walking the tightrope ridge that ran between brown carpet and glossy tile and trying to break into the silver Honda that I'm still not sure how fit through the doors, we were about two minutes from missing out on the whole reason for going to the airport.
That first glimpse.
Maybe the mind has conflated those feel-good airport movie scenes with my actual history, but truth or fiction, I can easily pull from the memory files several images of various family members coming down the chute from the plane and me running to greet them with a huge bear hug, then grinning till my face hurts as we all try to talk at once and catch up on a week, a month, a year...all the way to baggage claim.
As the children ran and I tried to keep them from destroying said silver Honda, the ceiling monitor overhead flashed blue, changing screens, and catching my attention. For the first time, I glanced up instead of down at my watch.
The Atlanta flight was no longer listed. Uh oh.
One twin in each hand, I made a bee line for the escalator, grandparents and Wyatt close behind. At the top, we walked swiftly past the security guards and black screens towards the "Do Not Enter" sign.
And there we stood where the new arrivals were already streaming past. With all six of us in an area the size of my living room (and with only half of the six being cognizant that life existed outside themselves), we were obviously in the way.
With little eyes glued to the door, no amount of prodding, grabbing, or holding could remedy that problem. People just had to go around the pint sized statues in their way.
Grand daddy saw him first--must be a parent thing to be able to recognize your child's profile through sun-glare-shadowed glass.
Then, he was there. "Go get him!" I said.
Wyatt did just that, running and leaping into his favorite uncle's arms. Amelia ran, too, but stopped short and just stared up at the Uncle she loves every Sunday through the computer screen. And Emerson--my ever-cautious one since his latest bout with pneumonia--he stood and took it all in before walking over for a hug.Seconds later, Amelia took off running with that tongue hanging out of her mouth, her own way of leaping for joy.
Just like in my memories, everyone started talking at once. All three children had to "help" Uncle Johnathan find his bags...and everyone else's. The boys skipped and chattered non stop all the way back to the van.
For a few days, at least, a well-loved son, brother, uncle is home. It may not have been on Valentines' Day. But having our meals together, watching the kids love and play with him--it sure feels like it should be a holiday.