Vignettes of a Visit Home

As I noted on Friday’s post, I was blessed with the gift of a roundtrip airline ticket from my mom to my own particular land of grace. I was able, in less than 48 hours, to see my wife and girls, do my most unfavorite activity of all (clothes shopping), lose some sleep, change some pooply diapers, and keep trying to ingore the flight of time. Here are some moments worth remembering.

I.

I got a late start in Chicago–by two hours. But the plane made up some time in flight, and we arrived only a little over an hour late. As I got off the plane and headed toward baggage, I started looking for Anna and the girls. After a bit of a walk down one long corridor, I saw a bunch of people waiting on passengers. I looked and looked but couldn’t pick out Anna or the girls from the crowd. When I was about thirty feet away from the crowd, all of a sudden I heard a “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” and there came my tow-headed oldest running headlong down the hallway to me. I knelt down on the tile and she slammed into me, wrapped her arms around my neck tightly and laughed. I couldn’t decide whether I was going to laugh or cry, but it was mostly laughter.

II.

Sofie and I made our way to Anna, and I gave Anna a hug and a kiss. I reached for Delaina, but she moved away a bit and grabbed on tighter to Anna. I spoke to Delaina and smiled, and after a few moments, she reached out to me with her three-tooth grin. Apparently she needed to hear my voice to know it was me. Sofie kept grabbing my leg and saying, “My daddy.”

III.

On the car ride to Wichita, Sofie started whining about wanting to go home. I looked over to Anna and queried if she meant going back to Anna’s sister’s, Jessi’s place, where they’ve been staying. No, Anna said, Sofie meant Chicago. “She associates you with home. And now that you’re here, she wants to go back home.”

IV.

I hate trying on clothes. If I were going to face martyrdom, that would be what they could torture me with: trying on clothes. I’ve never liked it. Mom even told some stories on me about being eight years old and not wanting to try on clothes. But, Mom was buying. So, I tried on exactly three suits. Mom had to run an errand to her accountant, so I got an early start. I tried on a suit at one store and determined my sizes. We then met my mom at another store. I picked out the suit I liked the looks of. Fit perfect off the rack. The store clerk (with my mom) picked out another combination. Fit perfect again. Picked up some shirts, ties, belts and socks. Major, massive, eye-popping sales going on. All told, purchased three pair of slacks, two coats, two belts, four pair socks, three ties, and a pair of dress shoes–for just a wee bit more than one would pay retail for a middle of the road off the rack suit.

V.

Took a moment while hamburgers were grilling and everyone was outside except me and mom to thank mom for all that she had done for me this weekend. Didn’t make it through the sentence before my face got all twisted and the tears came. Same thing happened when my sis gave me a card with another gift in it when she and I were alone for a moment.

VI.

After a very fast Easter egg hunt, which Sofie enjoyed immensely, went to the nearby school where Sofie proceeded to go down the slide more than a dozen times. The last four times she decided to go headfirst. Typical of her.

VII.

Two nights sleeping next to my most wonderful wife. We were utterly exhausted. But there’s a certain unlooked for romance of collapsing together in slumber under the watchful eyes of the icons and the guardian angels, with all the prayers of heaven showering us in God’s grace.

VIII.

Sunday woke up feeling the draining away of time like water. Worked very hard to remember God’s blessings, the Providence of all these moments, and that my girls–all three of them–would be driving back to Chicago for Pascha. It was hard, but it was a necessary askesis.

IX.

I read a job-hunting book, cover to cover, while waiting on the two-and-a-half hour delay for my flight back to Chicago and while in the air. Very encouraged. Very Providential.