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Arrivals

Caleb is home!  I couldn’t be happier or feel better.  This weekend I had a crazy 24 hours of feeling dizzy and nauseous that could have been some bug I picked up or might have been, according to my mom the nurse mind you, “Caleb withdrawals.”  [smile]  Whatever the cause of my 24 hour bug, it was completely gone and I felt great when I woke up yesterday morning to head to the airport to meet his plane.

In my years of travel to places unknown, I’ve had many experiences in airports, but greeting someone at the arrivals lobby at Atlanta’s busy airport isn’t something I’d done before yesterday.  I have flown into Atlanta many times and I can attest that arriving at Hartsfield-Jackson airport is like no other arrival.  I know so many people complain about the size and complexity of Atlanta’s airport, but I think the size adds to the drama and allure of arriving at the end of a journey in Atlanta. What really makes arriving in Atlanta unique is that your journey through the airport ends at a final long escalator that you slowly travel up to be revealed at the arrivals lobby.  I’ve never arrived at the Atlanta airport when a crowd wasn’t waiting at the top of the escalator.

Yesterday the same crowd was there and happily I was among those waiting.  [smile]  Aside from the representatives of the USO and the random town car drivers with name placards, most of the people gathered were anxiously waiting the arrival of their loved one like me.  Each time a new group of travelers arrived at the top of the escalator everyone’s eyes were glued to the arrival gate.  Between my own anxious panning of the arrivals for Caleb, I glanced around to watch the people near me greet their loved ones.

Just beside me was a little (under 2) girl waiting with her grandparents for her mother and older sister.  When they finally appeared at the top of the escalator, I could tell immediately because the little girl began to reach out her hands, palms up, and grabbing for a hug from her sister.  It was an absolutely beautiful image of love and sisterhood.  I loved her complete abandon to the need to connect with the people she had missed.

Last week I wrote about the tears I shed at the departure gate and concluded that I wouldn’t want the tears to stop me from someday encouraging my little ones to fly away on their own adventures.  Yesterday I thought of a new reason to encourage them to take flight.  Without departures, we don’t get to experience the joy of arrivals.  If only I could remember that the next time I have to say goodbye.

-Margaret

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