(I am having the hardest time writing this. Now, 6 1/2 weeks after it happened, the emotions are still so raw and so...big... that it's just sorta stuck inside of my head and I'm having a hard time making coherent sense of it. There will be LOTS of photos, some that are great - Carla Blankenship took those- and some not so great. I'm gonna post them all whether they're great or not. On my emotional journey these are the scenes that still take my breath away.)
The morning of July 28, we woke up early, still sorta disbelieving that we weren't in our bedroom, yet. We put back on our clothes from the day before, got Lyric ready, repacked our bags, grabbed our stuff, stood in line right outside the hotel for security and headed back into the airport. We made it back to the original departure gate and sat down to wait.
Our flight had been delayed.
We sat in the airport, at that gate, for 4 hours. FOUR hours. Four. 1 2 3 4 more hours.
Let's see, what's a girl to do when she's got time on her hands? Well, she can:
|Play with Mommy...|
|...talk to Daddy...|
|...inspect the actual airport...|
|...talk to total strangers...|
|...play with Daddy...|
|...and make a new friend.|
Still not ready to go? Well okay, then she can also:
|Eat a snack...|
|...play with her new friend...|
One of the things that we'd realized when we got to the gate was that the only one of us with a confirmed seat was Lyric. Since she was still going by her Chinese name, her name did not match our names and therefore it was not obvious that we were traveling together. First thing we had to do was get someone to understand that our two year old child would not be flying home to North Alabama by herself and could they, at least, confirm seats for one more of us so that one could fly home with her? It took them almost the whole time that we waited there to get this done and when they handed us our seat confirmations (yay!!!!) we realized that we were not sitting together. None of us. Q-Boo was sitting by herself next to some poor sap who, I am SURE, did not want to sit right next to a frantic two year old whom he'd never laid eyes on before that plane ride. You've got to be kidding me. Seriously, kidding me. K-Man tried to get it taken care of but by then it was time to board the plane.
We got on the plane and I told K-Man very loudly, "So, you're sitting there," I pointed to one side of the plane, "and Lyric is seating here," I pointed down to her seat, "BUT, I'm sitting there," I pointed over to the other side of the plane.
Then, I just turned around and announced to the plane, "Okay, who's switching seats so that they do NOT have to sit next to my screaming two year old?"
I was so past "appropriate" it wasn't even funny. I know, I had stopped laughing the day before.
Someone quickly volunteered and, after a short conversation about how the three of us did not have to all sit together, Lyric and I settled into our seats.
Our seats were in an exit row.
The stewardess confiscated everything that I had, purse, diaper bag, etc and put it in an overhead bin. I managed to swipe a bottle out of the diaper bag and just prayed that that would be enough to get us home.
As we waited for the plane to leave the airport, I was holding this exhausted baby in my arms, giving her a bottle, and realizing that if we'd traveled just three weeks before then we wouldn't even have had to buy a seat for her, so I asked the stewardess if I could just hold her.
Oh, no. Everyone with a ticket MUST be in their seats.
Okay. <sigh> I can see that.
Poor Baby was so tired that she started to whine as I belted her into her seat oh no, here it comes, I don't think I can take listening to her scream for two more hours...and then promptly fell totally asleep sitting straight up in her seat. As soon as we were in the air, I picked her up again.
|Shew, relief. She's asleep and we're on our way. We may make it home, this time.|
(Thank God, Bye-bye, Detroit.)
I am sorry to say that on landing, I lied. I snuggled down with my sleeping baby and pretended to be asleep myself in the vain attempt to get the stewardess to leave us alone. Surely, she would not wake me up, just to tell me to wake up this baby and put her back in her seat, the plane would land even if she was in my arms, right? Sorry, wrong. Yep, that woman made me wake up a sleeping baby to belt her into her seat. Three weeks, three weeks and I could have held her in my lap all the way from Hong Kong (not that I'd wanted to but... .)
I was so (tired and) angry, I literally remember thinking, I HOPE SHE SCREAMS HER HEAD OFF UNTIL WE GET OFF THIS BLANKETY-BLANK AIRPLANE. I HOPE YOU SIT UP THERE IN YOUR LITTLE STEWARDESS SEAT AND REGRET EVER TELLING ME TO WAKE HER UP.
By this point, my heart may have been beginning to thaw just a bit toward Mr. Spoiled Rotten Throws A Fit...Nah! :) Seriously, what can any of us air passengers do? We have to do what the airplane personnel say to do or risk not being able to fly on the plane...or worse. They have to do what is mandated by the company for safety reasons and for keeping the company lawyers happy or risk getting fired...or worse. I really did not want to meet police cars upon landing in Alabama so I kept my mouth shut - my face told a different story, I am sure. :)
Poor Lyric was so exhausted that she never woke up. We just sat there, seat-belted in, with me holding her head upright while the plane landed.
That plane pulled up to the gate and all was forgotten.
My boys. I was going to see my boys in MOMENTS!
Meanwhile, IN the airport:
|Here come Nana Bea, Grandma, and Poppa T to meet us.|
|Wild Child could not be cuter.|
|...here we came. I was seriously choking back tears at this moment.|
(I still am.)
|There was not a better sight in the whole world.|
| Happy chaos. |
I LOVE Wild Child's running for his daddy.
|Yes, Grammy, I feel exactly the same way.|
|All right, here she is. The star of the show. |
Will she let me put her down?
|Just, really beautiful.|
|Memere says, "Hi," to Lyric.|
|LOVE this picture. Just LOVE.|
We missed our boys.
|Here we all are, our family.|
It is a glorious mess.
|"C'mon Miss S, and meet Lyric!"|
|Miss S came home to her family from Guangxi,|
Lyric's province, two years ago.
|Miss S. and her sister, Miss K.|
|Lyric was fascinated.|
You could stop here...but there's more. :)
I think I like these next two because it's like getting to see backstage. :) We really are going home and we really are going to be a family, again. OH, FOR REAL JOY!
Lyric had never been in a car seat, before. I thought she’d scream all the way home in the truck...
| ...but nope, she laughed at Middle Child. |
|Middle Child was so sweet with Lyric, |
he started teaching her stuff immediately. He was saying,
“…and we live in a blue house. It’s on a hill.
We have ‘Sponge Bob Square Pants' here but it’s in English…”
(There was a Sponge Bob toy in the pile of little toys that the boys brought to the airport for Lyric.)
|Waiting for us at home was Oldest Child.|
|Nana Bea hadn't seen him since he was Wild Child's age. Wow.|
|There they are, all my guys and my girl together in one picture. Wow. Wow.|
Okay, we can be done now. I'm all outta pictures. And, energy. :)
WHAT A DAY!
<deep deep happy sigh>