Thursday, April 7, 2011

Returning



photo credit
 As I sat on the airplane awaiting departure from Heathrow airport my eyes felt heavy in their sockets. You know that feeling, when you're so tired it feels like your eyeballs are weighted down with lead. The kind of tired that comes from having recently switched time zones. The kind of tired that comes from staying up too late, smiling too long, and sleeping too little. The kind of tired that comes at the beginning of a twenty-three hour travel day. I was gearing up to switch time zones again.

I felt relieved that the gray haze of the morning prevented me from seeing anything beyond our little corner of tarmac. I didn't need any gratuitous glimpses of green countryside. I was already well aware of what I was leaving behind. But it was time to go, and I was ready. My two-year old had cried into the phone the night before, "Come home mama. I need you." It was exactly what I needed to hear. There are so many people that we miss, and places that we long for, but what it comes down to is where we are needed. There is no bigger draw, nothing as compelling as the knowledge that you could be a lot of different places, you could be with a lot of different people, but there is only one place where you're needed most.

My girls brought me homemade cards and a Fruit Loop necklace to the airport. When they spotted me coming up the escalator they charged straight into the crowd trying to reach me. I dropped my suitcases and knelt down to gather them up as swarms of travelers moved around us. It was then, right there in the middle of Denver International Airport, that I remembered that one of the best things about traveling is the coming home part.



3 comments:

  1. Lauren, I haven't been able to read your posts this past week, so it was a real treat to be able to sit down and read all your UK posts at the same time. I know exactly what you mean about "coming home." Our family is there 2-3 times a year (and Alan even more than that), but every time we walk down King's Road or up Exhibition or Old Brompton Rd., I feel like I've come home. Such wonderful memories, wonderful food, and wonderful friends.

    My heart ached a bit, though, as Beth posted a picture of several of you at Karen's party. It made me miss you all so much - it's been way too long since I've seen so many of you. I do take comfort, however, in seeing the amazing adults you have all turned into and that you seem very happy in your lives.

    You mentioned many of my favorite London eateries in your posts. Did you ever make it to Patara while you were there? That one is a staple for us, as is Odonno's gelato, which is only a block away from the flat. It is truly both a blessing and curse that London's best gelato is basically right up the road (a stone's throw away from the Hummingbird Cafe!).

    I've loved reading all your posts, and I'm looking forward to my next trip to the UK in a few weeks.

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  2. Kristen, you should know that you were on my mind that whole week I was in England. I love seeing your family photo in the flat, and getting together with the old gang brought back so many memories of Hyde Park, seminary!, and Jared and I couldn't stop laughing about "Summer Lovin'" from Pakefield. You were such a great influence and role model to me during those years. And I would just love love to meet your girls someday.

    PS- We decided on Italian instead of Patara because I'd never tried Ziani's and it's a new family favorite, but usually Patara is slotted in the number one spot. And by the time we were done at Ziani's we decided to skip gelato, although in retrospect that was the wrong choice. I've never tried Odonno's, but my dad was raving about it!

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  3. The part about the girls running into your arms at the airport made me cry. Kind of like the missionaries I mentioned a few posts back, watching reunions of loved ones gets me everytime!

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