THE RETURN

december tree

We waited on the tarmac forty minutes as the pilot tried to get someone to open the plane doors. Or was it the gate. I am not sure as I listened to the pilot apologise to us passengers more than once, stating he had never experienced this type of incident. Red tape, no doubt.

The flight arrived early in Austin. It was scheduled to arrive at 18 minutes past midnight. However, we landed 20 minutes prior to midnight. There were people milling about on the tarmac but no one was authorised to approach the JetBlue plane. 'No one would touch the plane' as the pilot put it.

As soon as the doors were open, we all rushed outside eager to get home. The luggage carousel had stopped rotating and bags were already piled up ready to be claimed by its owners. I wondered why the luggage made it out of the plane before we humans did.

Grabbing my small red duffle bag, I walked outside and stood in line for the shuttle to take me to the long-term parking lot. I noticed the air was warmer than in Ireland. I almost missed the cold and rain. Putting my bag and backpack in the trunk, I sat in the car and was relieved to be off the plane and on my way home.

In a way, I also dreaded the return home. Albeit I looked forward to seeing my son and middle daughter, I knew they would be gone by the time the weekend arrived and I would be alone once again. I also realised the oldest was not there and the dynamic is now different. The three children have always been together since birth but these past few months have been quite the change and things will change again when she returns in February.

The return feels different this time. On previous returns from Ireland, I would get anxious and busy myself with packing and repacking the night before. This time was different. I felt as if I was leaving one home to go back to another somewhat temporary home. I even left a few items of clothing in Ireland along with all of the spices, sugars, and other baking supplies I brought with me. I would need them for my next visit.

It was 1,30 when I arrived home. After a much welcomed hot shower, I spoke with my boyfriend via Skype. It was only 8,00h his time - an hour earlier than he usually awakens - but he was willing to take time to talk before I went to bed. Afterwards, I went back to sleep and awoke a few hours later for a brief talk on Skype again before he left for work. Then it was more sleep for me.

The hours passed as I continued to sleep until 10,30h. I needed to restock my refrigerator and get ready for cooking this week when my children will be here. Milk, fruit, veggies, and salmon were items on my list - the list in my mind as I did not take the time to write anything down. The trips to my two grocery stores of choice took half of the afternoon as I live quite the distance from city centre.

There is something about December which makes it more fun to spend time in the kitchen baking and cooking. I look forward to baking bread, cookies, brownies, and other treats for my children to eat. Filling the house with warmth from the oven and the aromas of Christmas is more enjoyable when there is someone there to share it with you.