Monday, March 23, 2009


I awoke with a familiar tightness in my chest. I opened my eyes warily and saw the thin stripe of light filtering in where the heavy curtains did not quite meet the wall. I craned my head to look at the clock. Still an hour until the alarm would go off. I lay in the dark, listening to the ebb and flow of voices as they walked by the room. The pounding of footsteps, too quick to be carrying the weight of adulthood. High pitched laughter. And occasionally, motherly voices admonishing. Shushing. "People are sleeping."

I rolled over again, willing myself to go back to sleep. To fall for one more hour back into the weightlessness of the last few days. They had been amazing days. Lolling at the beach. Dining when we were hungry. Napping when we were tired. Flirting. Laughter shared over drinks with other adults. Long kisses under a setting sun. I closed my eyes tighter, knowing as I did so, it was useless. I could feel the all-too-familiar anxieties settling back around me. We were going home today. Back to frantic schedules, and days of chores exactly like the one before. And the children. My heart lifted for a moment at the thought. The kids. I had missed them. And then just as suddenly it contracted again. Boo...

He was singing at the service that night. 'What if we don't make it home in time?' Knowing how he worries, knowing how excited he was for me to see him, I said probably the hundredth prayer for an on time flight, for no traffic; throwing in some pleas for the friend chauffeuring him to the church, and his grandmother--the sitter. And then, falling back into the routine, another prayer for Anne and her chauffeur. She was returning from her own weekend away this afternoon. For Brando, coming home from yet another location. And for Pepper, my little spitfire; was she missing us? Conceding that I had now fallen, completely, back into my roll of mother with all the worrying that accompanies it, I climbed out of bed. I poured some coffee from the tiny hotel pot, and started packing.

The day crawled by. Each step seeming to drag on endlessly. We made the ride to the airport in silence, the playful carefree banter of the weekend replaced with contemplation of our weeks ahead . We arrived at the airport hours before our flight and attempted to pass the time by utilizing the airports WiFi to watch the television shows we had missed on our laptop. But, my heart wasn't in it. My mind kept wandering from Sawyer and Kate to whether Boo remembered the red shirt he was supposed to sing in.

Too much caffeine and the continuous trilling of a too-chipper airline employee of our flights over-booked status brought my anxieties to a fever-pitch. I just needed to be in my airplane seat, to be taking off--on time. Then it was to have our luggage in hand. To be in our car headed home. To be at the house picking up Anne & Pepper. Then, finally I just needed to be in the pew, waiting for my sensitive, blond headed boy to make his appearance. With moments to spare, I found a seats for our family. We filed in and waited for his appearance. And then, when he entered, I nearly cried. I sprung from my seat to greet him in his place in line. Watching as the worry and nervousness evaporated from his face at the site of me. "Mommy!!" he squealed as he flung himself at me, his relief palpable.

"I made it!" I said. "I got home in time to watch you." He hugged me again and marched up on stage grinning. The tears came then, as I sat down to watch him sing. Pride, and relief, and gratitude hitting me in waves. My trip was over and that was sad, but I wouldn't have traded another week for sitting where I was at that moment. Watching my boy, in his red shirt (whew!) grinning from ear to ear and dancing with a plastic hat; it took my breath away.