This time I didn't fall down. I didn't have toilet paper trailing my shoe (or my underwear). I didn't have my skirt stuck in the back of my pantyhose, there was no stealth booger hanging out of my nose, and I didn't even forget to brush my teeth.
And the best news of all... Now my hubby is HOME!
Of course, it wasn't perfectly seamless. I thought hubby would be coming home Friday, two days earlier it got changed to Thursday. I was very excited to see hubby 24 hours sooner, but I had to hurry to change the arrangements for my children. Hubby was initially flying into BWI, and I was going to drive the three and a half hours to meet him there. This had the added advantage of allowing us a night alone in a hotel sans children to reacquaint before throwing him to the wolves... errr, our kids.
I got all the kid and dog arrangements changed, made reservations at a hotel near the airport, and slipped into bed at about 9 pm Wednesday night full of excitement for the next day. I had excited myself right into a migraine, and took a dose of Tylenol Night Time. I figured that my insomniac nature, coupled with the massive headache, required such measures in order to be up to the drive the next morning.
At 3:30 am my phone rang. It took me a while to get to it, because I had to disengage myself from a drug induced sleep and the pillow full of drool that Tylenol inevitably brings on. It was hubby. Change of time of arrival, and a change of airport. He only had time to repeat the new information twice before we were cut off.
I wrote down the new airport (the one nearest our house) and the new time (three hours later) and went back to bed. I don't think I ever woke up completely. But at about 7 am the entire situation hit me and I jumped out of bed like someone had thrown cold water on my head... WHAT IF I HAD WRITTEN THE INFORMATION DOWN WRONG? I seemed to remember the information in my head, but I wasn't exactly in full control of my faculties. The thought that I might be messing this important day up because of Tylenol Night Time made my stomach clench and I passed the day in a haze of nausea. Once again I contacted the people I had farmed the kids out to and canceled completely. I called and canceled the hotel. I arranged for Chinese food to be delivered to my kids for dinner while I was at the airport.
And as I got ready to leave, my 14 year old stopped me at the door and with a completely straight face said, "I'm too old for this, Mom. Please get a hotel before you come home. I fear the psychological scars. I'll be okay with the other kids until one or two in the morning."
Honestly, I don't know where she gets this.
I encountered traffic on the way to the airport and got there five minutes before hubby's plane was due to land. In my heeled boots (the same ones I was wearing when hubby came home from Iraq, and which were probably the reason I tripped and fell on my face as I ran to meet him that time), I clomped unsteadily toward the terminal, up escalators, down halls, and into the International Waiting Area. I assaulted the first "airporty" looking person I saw and announced that my husband was coming in on a flight from Germany on his way home from Afghanistan and that I knew military families were now allowed to meet their returning service-members at the gate. I asked him how.
He replied that didn't apply to international flights. Which was sad, but there really wasn't anything I could do about it. So, I took a seat and tried to read my latest novel (War and Remembrance, by Herman Wouk). I'm not sure why I thought I'd be able to read, but at least I looked smart sitting there, right? And I sat. And I sat. And I kept sitting. After about 40 minutes I would have sworn I could feel the secretarial spread affecting my backside, but I was afraid to get up and walk around as I was so nervous I probably would have ended up on the ground. And by this time I was sure that I had screwed up the airport, or the time, or something. And coming home from down-range, Hubby didn't have a cell phone to get a hold of me.
Then I saw him - pushing a huge cart with his duffel, his deployment bag, his rifle case, a giant backpack, and other military accouterments. THAT WAS MY MAN!
Honestly, I'm sure the entire terminal was treated to an otherworldly rendition of "Dream Weaver" as I dashed (in my tight skirt and boots) as far as security would let me to see my hubby - that was all I could focus on. With hindsight, I have a sneaking suspicion I could have easily passed for a contestant chosen out of the audience on The Price is Right, "Airforcewife, COME ON DOWN!" I had brought a camera, but it was forgotten in my purse. I left my book open on the seat and had to go back and get it later, but first, there was about five minutes of intense hugging and squealing on the exit ramp. There is nothing else in the world that can cause air travelers to detour around people rather than shoving their way through - but a military homecoming will do it every time.
When we got home, the kids acted as though Dad had only been gone a week, which relieved my husband tremendously. He's always afraid they're going to forget him.
And now the reintegration begins.