I was ready.
I mean REALLY ready to seriously lay into a particular airline that I am pretty sure has waved good-bye to its hey-day and is now thoroughly embracing mediocrity. As the shareholders gather around the smoky embers of their investment in ruins they might want to inspect closer and I think they will see the cloth that makes up the cots that line one side of the terminal and wonder if maybe the better investment just might have been customer service... or a few more planes to help the weary traveler get home on the actual day assigned... and maybe even their bag too!
I am not a grumpy person and so there were moments of humanity. I spent a good amount of my time in the airport sprinting from one terminal to the other (I dare say no small feat at one the size of O'Hare). Ticket and eventually airline carrier changes made me suspect and a target for an added security check. A full day and overnight of travel made me so... ummm, 'ripe' that the security agent actually asked me to go ahead and put my arms down.
We shared a good laugh about the sense of smell and how it is so strongly tied to memory and recognition to which she responded, "I remember me some doozies!"
I was ready to write a rap of righteous anger and frustration, but then I finally came through the doors at an airport that was not the original one intended, but thanks to my Mom, close enough...
and there he was.
Looking at least half a foot taller than I remembered him, bold red shirt tucked into his cargo shorts and new Cars sandals, "Mommy!" he came running into my arms. It was a hug they make movies about and his declarations of "I love's..." and "I missed's..." made the hassle of the last 24 hours disappear.
He talked and acted so grown up I half expected him to ask for the car keys but instead he asked me to carry him to the car please, which I did. Once home after a circuitous journey of picking up our car (but not my bag) at a different airport we played outside or rather he did while I watched and tried to not be so obviously attempting to soak in every independent moment of this young boy with suddenly no trace of toddler showing what. so. ever.
And then for whatever reason he decided to be Piglet to my Pooh (or maybe I was Tigger to his Roo?) and I sat on the swing that hangs from our great oak and he sat on my lap and as we would both lean waaaaay back he would giggle hysterically and when we went forward he would shout, "we're flying, we're flying!" all while I was attempting to make a permanent imprint of our flying lesson in my head.
As a sandy-haired little boy and I soared back and forth over the earth and he leaned into me with his giggles and innocent exhortations to fly, the scent of his neck both sweet and salty at the same time danced with my allelulias and I thought, "This is how I will recognize heaven."