It’s 10.54 am. Son #1’s flight is scheduled to land at 1.08 pm... So far this morning, I’ve cleaned the bathroom, put the bins out, emptied the dishwasher, rearranged furniture, made the beds, hoovered the dog... I’m killing time.
I’m not the most patient person. I would have been one of those kids who, given the choice of eating one chocolate now, or four later, would have stuffed that one chocolate in my mouth without hesitation. So you can imagine that this weekend waiting for Son #1 to join us for the first time since our move here back in January has been a bit of a challenge.
The last couple of days has been like being in a house full of caged cats. We’ve all been prowling around trying to find things to do and even sometimes snarling at each other. The atmosphere is a tad tense, there’s the heightened sense of expectancy - like Christmas Eve but without the obligatory screening of Home Alone and with a slight edge of desperation. We’ve never been apart for this long and the magnetic pull is getting stronger as each hour passes.
We’re all checking phones every few minutes for no reason. I logged on to the BA flight tracker but got so stressed when the plane seemed to do a little loop somewhere over Iceland that I had to turn it off and go back to prowling.
If I had my way, I’d already be at the airport waiting, but my sensible husband managed to talk me down. I want to film our reunion but I know that when I see that face heading towards me through the crowd at arrivals, I’ll forget all about capturing the moment and just enjoy it (and probably lose all dignity!) We’ve even bought balloons for goodness sake!
Yesterday’s trip to the supermarket saw Son #2 doing his own version of Supermarket Sweep- filling the trolley with as much ‘welcome to America’ crap that he knew he’d get away with. This is our version of preparing the fatted calf for the return of the prodigal son... but with pop tarts and root beer.
Plans for the next 18 days are loose. I remember how jet lagged and overwhelmed we were when we arrived. Son #1 has a lot to process - a new country, a new home, a new life, and just under three weeks to do it. We’ve tried hard to ensure there’s a mix of the familiar and the new - old family photos sit on new pieces of furniture, an old sofa sits in a new room. But we have no idea how he’ll feel when he gets here, so we’ll go at his pace. Maybe he’ll want to cram his time full of all-American experiences, maybe he’ll just want to chill and re-calibrate.
All I know is how much I’m looking forward to setting four plates at the table instead of three, and introducing him to the wonderful new friends we’ve made. I can’t wait to share the ordinary moments like walking the dog and arguing over which film to watch on Netflix. Yes, there’ll be days out and bucket list stuff ticked off I’m sure, but just as special will be the late night chats I’ve so missed because of our time difference.
It’s now 11.23 am... flight BA295 seems to be somewhere over Montreal. Now can we go to the airport?