|~this is what victory over travel looks like~|
|the gate to our neighborhood|
|hazelnut and peanut both had signage as well|
We made it home. WE MADE IT HOME! I decided that needed to be louder. Phew. All that build up and pack and rush and buy and plan and rush some more ... done. Thank-you Lawd!
The flights didn't go as planned exactly, which meant 3 less hours in the hotel, which meant tired kids, but they really did great in spite of less sleep. They pulled bags like maniacs and made their funny comments and over-all they were champs. I would even say they made some friends with the Miami TSA people.
For the kids, delirium finally set in somewhere over Cuba. While in the sky, Lydia asked, "Is this Haiti?"
No. This is the sky. I can see how you got confused though.
I had a similar - scratch that - I had TWO similar moments.
First, we landed after midnight in MIami, on what was technically Tuesday. Troy stayed at the bag carousel and I went to check into hotel and get kids to bed sooner. Seemed like a brilliant plan but then the hotel room was two miles away on foot and Troy realized he is not capable of moving 9 bags by himself. We only think out the beginning of our plans, rarely the end. Troy called me. I said I was almost done settling kids and would walk two miles back to him and help with bags. As I was walking back I saw a little girl running out in front of me and I thought, "Well how in the heck did Lydia get out of bed and get down here?!" (delirium) Of course the hotel made us take all the bags all the way up to the 6th floor. Of course we were all the way down the hall from the elevator. We slept for sixteen or seventeen minutes and woke up to head back down to re-check everything in a MADHOUSE airport. I have seen Miami look pretty bad, but these might have been the busiest American Airlines counters ever.
We reasoned that in Dallas nobody cared that all 5 kids and the puppy were not at the counter to get boarding passes, so surely in our world that always makes perfect sense the rules would be just the same in Miami. We all know how consistent airlines and their employees are. <gah!> After standing in the loooooong line to re-check bags that we never ever wanted back in the first place, we were told that the kids had to be standing there with us to check back in. I speed-walked (arms and all) it back to the hotel room to wake them, dress them, skip feeding them, skip showering, and head back to the line which we did not have time to go through again. Once that was finished it was less time than we needed to go back to the hotel "free" breakfast. (Sorry to say marketing geniuses, most of us know that a $189 room that includes breakfast in the rate is not really a 'free' breakfast. Nice try, though.)
Troy had three ounces of grease spread around his hair and bolted to the hotel to shower and grab the carry on that the kids and I did not have enough hands to get down to the American Airlines desk. I started the TSA security process with the kids and Chestnut the (potentially explosive) puppy. Isaac insisted on asking a billion questions about why they checked his hands for explosives; he carried the puppy. Then the TSA guy started asking him why he was going to Haiti so Isaac told him the short story. The TSA guy then said, "What? No Taco Bell and no Cartoon Network?? That's got to be a rough life, man." Isaac said, "It's not too rough - we have a good life." The guy seemed unconvinced but later as we were looking for our gate Isaac said, "Weird. Why Taco Bell?" To him that seems like a fairly lame America convenience. We then had just enough time to buy donuts that were $22 for a dozen and juice that was $24. That is not a free breakfast either, by the way.
Once in the air we were seated in a few pairs. The little girls wanted to be together and I sat them down and plopped down next to Hope. Not too long after a flight attendant came and was talking super sweet to some kids in front of me. I thought, "Oh, sweet, the kid (or kids) in that row must be flying alone and the flight attendant wants to love on them a little bit." I leaned forward to see how old the kid was. Phoebe was 7 and Lydia was 6. I forgot for a moment that my children were seated by me, right in front of me. (delirium)
|Miami at midnight - hard core kids, right there|
We arrived home to gate and dog fanfare and a huge Haitian meal cooked and ready to eat. Geronne freaks me out more and more as we've known each other longer. She might be the hardest working person I know. Troy said, "I feel like the house looks better than when we left. I think she painted?" Sure enough, the woman touched up hand prints and painted to welcome us home. The house has never been so clean, it is very sad that she had to let those kids sitting in front of me on the airplane come in and ruin it all.
We unpacked and organized and found our stuff that had been moved around to give the renters more space. Today Lydia looked in a box and found her blanket, with all the zeal possible she said, "Finally! We are together again like we are supposed to be!"
Last night was crazy rough, lots of tears at bedtime (fatigue makes cowards of us all). Tonight was easy as pie (that someone else makes) and no tears - just excitement to head to school with Jimmy and Becky tomorrow. I am equally excited that tomorrow is Prenatal day. I won't know a single woman, as they are all new since I left in late July, but I am anxious to get going on knowing names and faces.
A little bit ago Troy and I had our official moment of reckoning. I had tried to blame the dryer in Waco, TX for shrinking clothing. As it turns out we both gained a few L B's in America. I am officially up 8lbs. and Troy is up 10lbs. That's what Tex-Mex and temperature controlled rooms and vacations funded by my parents will do to a person. Time to reign it in and take off the feed sack.
We are glad to be home. We are also going to take some time to allow the sad feelings and to sit with those too. It's incongruent and that is okay. Who doesn't want to be all the places with all the loved ones all the time? We are learning that returning can be beautiful at the exact same time leaving is difficult. We are also learning (wherever we are) that the quote below is truth.