Monday, March 24, 2014

The End.

I promise, this is the end of the postings about my trip to Washington, D.C. I have told you about the food, and about the company, and about the hotel room, and about the marathon, and...well, I'm sure you all feel just as exhausted as if you'd made the trip yourself.

But there's one more story, and that story starts in the lower level apartment of this row house. That's Boy#1 and Lovely Girl's place, where I was enjoying one last breakfast with my family. My plane was due to leave at 1:05 p.m., and Boys #2 and #4 were going to drop me at the airport as they left town on their way back south. With time changes, I was scheduled to head down the exit ramp toward Husband by 4:30 p.m.

We were laughing and enjoying homemade pop-tarts and a final cup of coffee when I pulled out my phone to check onto my flight. That's when I realized I had misread my itinerary, and rather than leaving in 90 minutes, my flight would be taking off in half an hour. Exactly the same half an hour it would take to get to the airport, with no time to spare for airport traffic, security lines, or final hugs.

I'm sure I looked as stricken as I felt as I looked up at my children. "I just missed my plane," I choked out.

And that is the moment a fundamental shift took place in my family's dynamics, a shift so solid and complete I practically heard it thump into place. You see, while Husband has always been the logistical mastermind of our family, my task has been to carry the emotional baggage. When things haven't gone as planned I've been the one who says, "This isn't a big deal. We can figure it out. I'm sorry this is happening, but we can deal with it."

My grown children looked at my distress and as if they had rehearsed for years, they went into damage control mode.

Boy#1 picked up the phone and called the airline. Two and Four grabbed their bags and headed for the car. Lovely Girl joined the emotional support group.

"It's not a problem," they all said. "We can figure it out."

"You're here, and not anywhere else," Lovely Girl said. "You have someplace to stay, and we'd love to have you for another day."

In moments we were whisking off to the airport, and after quick hugs and a race through security I found myself on stand-by. I had been texting Husband throughout the process and confessed I was shook enough that I had accidentally walked into the men's room instead of the women's.

"That's not a big deal," he texted back. "I've been doing that all my life."

Four flights later (two that left me, two that took me) I was walking down the exit ramp toward Husband. It was only six hours later than I had expected but I'm still thinking about the changes those six hours signified. My days as the family's emotional skycap may have come to an end--now my children know when I'm the one who needs propping up, and are eminently capable of  handling that job.

What a lovely new beginning.

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