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Friday, October 21, 2011

Zero Hour 8 a.m.

Just like Elton John's Rocket Man, we'll be high as a kite by morning, and are fairly certain there will be differences when we land.  Will the children still sound British on American soil?  Will we have a friendly Customs agent welcome us home?  Will we feel at home in Virginia or when we return to London?  Will a 2 year old who hasn't been in a car seat in nearly 6 months submit to a 5-point harness?

Before I can even begin to ponder all that, the prospect of an international flight with 4 small children and no accompanying husband (he's already Stateside for business) looms.  The combination of no other responsible adult and an early flight time also makes a cocktail seem wildly inappropriate.  And on that note, I'm sad Southwest has changed their drink coupon policy.  It was always a hoot for my husband to "treat" me to a drink just after take off.  We're simple like that.

The children are usually spectacular travellers (is even typing that is risking something...?) and we've tested their limits on trips to the Grand Canyon and possibly the world's longest drives to South Carolina and North Dakota (which were different trips but they seem equally endless upon reflection).  But still.  It is a long time to be encapsulated with lots of strangers, and at this moment, seems a bit like AP parenting.

This morning my confidence was shaken by how difficult it was for us just to leave the flat for school - a full 35 minutes after a car will pick us up tomorrow for the airport.  There was nudity where there should have been uniforms, squabbling when there should have been peace, and tears when there should have been cheers for the last day of school before half term break.  But luggage is packed, surprises tucked into backpacks, comfy travel wear set aside, and a pizza party and early bedtimes planned for this evening.

Reunions are treasured times and give us the opportunity to reflect on ourselves as much as others.  In that way, I know this will be as much of a reunion with America (not to mention Target, JCrew, and as much Mexican food and drink as I can manage) as it is with family and friends. And I think it's going to be be a long, long time...

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