We are home.
I have probably been on at least nine flights to Managua in the last three years, and with the exception of one, I don’t remember much about each specific journey. That said, I am certain that today’s flight will forever be etched in my memory as a turning point. Even though we left Oregon over a week ago, today was really the point of no turning back. Mark could have found a job even as we traveled and we could have returned home. But now that we’re in Managua, we’re not just emotionally committed, we’re physically committed. We live here now, baby!
We were seated two and two, and on the tickets Tate and Theo were seated next to each other, Mark and I were seated next to each other with the 4 of us being a couple of rows apart. We tossed around the idea of implementing that seating arrangement but quickly realized that we’d not make the best first impression with our new neighbors.
After hauling and stowing our 27 various carry on items we found our seats. Theo and I sat together and I was thankful for his enthusiasm. He was like a buoy in rough water, popping up and down in his seat. He sat by the window and kept us all entertained with his chipper play by play. As the plane took off he threw his hands in the air (think victory dance) yelling, “and….we’re flying!” The gentleman next to me got a real kick out of Theo’s exubarence and kept asking his wife if she could hear Theo. Since she was literally seated right in front of him, I have no doubt that she heard and felt him, since he would occasionally strike the back of her seat. Thankfully she was a good sport.
For me, I couldn’t help but get teary as we flew away. While I appreciate our country and the freedoms we have, I have never considered myself super patriotic. I own no flag memorabilia, with the exception of an actual flag. The only reason I own this is because Mark brought it home from Iraq, with a certificate stating that the flag was flown over one of the HQs there. Anyway, I got really teary. Even though I don’t like some things about my country, it’s still my home. I was born and raised here and I see everything through the lens of being an American. I can’t help it. It’s part of who I am. And I am leaving this, and more importantly, I am leading my children away from this safe and beautiful place that set the stage for so many of my important life events.
I didn’t have too long to get sentimental though, because Theo was chattering my ear off and was expecting a somewhat coherent response. After his third time being blown off due to my tears he asked some rediculuos question like, “Hey mom, do dogs like to wear pants?” and that kind of knocked me out of my sentimental mood. The rest of the flight was spent trying to explain to Theo that there weren’t any cartoons available, yes, we are going to Nicaragua, no, I don’t want him licking his feet even though they taste like strawberries (I really have no idea).
After three hours that seemed to last an eternity, the plane started to descend. Theo saw the lights in Managua and started exclaiming, “It’s Nicaragua! It’s so pretty!” and I have to agree, Managua was beautiful with all of her lights blinking. Absolutely stunning. I got teary again realizing that the desire of my heart is being fulfilled. I have longed to live here among the children we adore. Somewhere along the way God started opening the doors and here we are. At times, I still can’t believe it.
When the plane touched down I reached over to Theo, kissed the top of his head (his hair smelled so good, freshly washed, like apples) and said, “welcome home, Theo. “ He turned to me with his eyes shining, put his chubby little hands on my cheeks and with a huge grin he said, “Welcome home, Mommy.”
(Then he jumped up and down in his seat shouting, “We’re home! Welcome home Mommy! Welcome home!”)
As soon as he saw Mark and Tate he said, “Welcome home Daddy! Welcome home Tate!”
And so it begins.
We are finally home.