Hugging and kissing and wailing. (Updated)

Yesterday we picked Chinua up from the airport. It was... well, you can probably guess how it was, but I'll tell you anyway.

We left for the airport with PLENTY of time to spare, because, 1. I was crossing a border to get to the airport, and wanted to give room for any crazy border guard power/mind-trips, 2. I was traveling with my three kids, and 3. I couldn't wait to see my superstar husband again. I have to be honest and say that one reason that I was worried about the border was because I didn't have YaYa's birth certificate. Which the officers on each side seem to have a problem with, for some reason. I couldn't find it, right before we left, so I've been riding on the fact that my kids look enough alike that it should be apparent that they're all mine. (Not that we look alike, but well, whatever, they're mine.)

But, alas, getting to the airport early doesn't make the plane get there any quicker. I've tried this trick a few times, and each and every time I've been disappointed, forcing me to conclude that it just doesn't work.

We breezed through the border. The kids ate fine in the backseat, I fed Leaf in record time, and we didn't hit any traffic. We arrived an hour early. Oh well, I thought, we'll just walk around for awhile and look at all the sights. Like the baggage popping out of the ceiling and moving around and around on the carousel, or the people, (I saw a teenaged girl wearing a hijab with a hoodie underneath, swathed with style) or the bathroom walls. Maybe we could even count the bathroom stalls and sinks a few times. Maybe we could wash our hands a few times, and then the kids could start to wash the bathroom fixtures while I tried to change Leaf's diaper, and I could stop them and tell them to please stop touching the soap and then we could all crowd into a bathroom stall together while I used the toilet. And we did all these things, and they were all just as fun and engaging as you'd imagine.

Pretty quickly, after we started walking around, I realized that this walking around stuff wasn't going to work, mostly because YaYa wasn't doing it. Walking, that is. She was stopping, a lot more, and covering her eyes and stuff. And then maybe lying down for a while, and then pulling that noodle trick, that one that two-year-olds do, when I tried to pick her up and get her to walk, the one where they go all limp and you look like a fool trying to make their legs stay solid while they turn them into jello and crumple to the floor. So we found some seats. I gave the kids apples and they sat like dolls and ate them while I talked to an Italian woman who was waiting for her sister.

I checked the board. Only ten minutes to go! Time for the rice milk cups. What a good mom I was to bring snacks for the kids! The ten minutes went by with the kids sucking away on their sippy cups, and it was time to go and stand at the escalators.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And say, he'll be here soon, he'll be here any minute, just keep looking, about ten thousand times. And watch for people who look like Londoners. That man, there! He's completely and totally from London! Yes he is! But that doesn't make your superstar husband come any faster either!

Apparently, in Israel (where the security makes ours look like a game of Simon Says) the security personnel at the airport had taken all of Chinua's carry-on bags, (his computer and camera gear) apart to the point that he was going to miss his airplane if he tried to get it all put back together. "Oh, don't worry," they told him, "We'll just ship it separately." "My computer?" he responded. "Oh yes, we do it all the time," they reassured him. It seemed like a pretty important thing to just be shipping hither and thither, but he had no choice but to board his plane.

And to arrive at the airport here and find that he and his computer had not come to the same destination. While he was waiting to find the package that never came, we were upstairs, the kids amusing themselves by sweeping the floor with their stomachs and whipping my bible around by its silky ribbon bookmark. I was sitting on the floor with my forehead in my hands. The Italian sister arrived amid much celebration. She was arriving in order to move to America, and her brother-in-law gave her a bouquet of flowers wrapped in plastic that was tinted to look like the American flag. The Muslim relatives arrived. They looked like they were Ethiopian or from another country in East Africa, and they walked around in a flurry of excitement and printed shawls that floated behind them.

The other people around me started to look worried, but we all gained confidence from the fact that the others were still there, yet as one by one the others started to trickle off I was fidgeting a little, inside.

And then he was there! Hooray! Kid A threw himself at his dad and YaYa was in the midst of a happy dance when she fell down and embarrassed herself and we greeted Chinua with a swarm of hugging and kissing and wailing.

He's home. And extremely jet-lagged. I am reminded again of how much God has given to me in the man who is my husband.

Our whole clan is going to be here in my parents' house this weekend; two brothers and a sister and a future sister-in-law, and the mom and dad and of course all five members of my family. What will happen? Stay tuned.