I almost came home for Christmas 2007 and knew how cool it would be for my mom to come home one day and find me on the couch. Africa was treating me harshly and I wasn’t sure how or if I should put up with all the difficulty. Since then, I knew when I came home I would surprise them. I would forgo having family greet me with flowers and open arms at the airport, though I’ll admit I would have loved all the attention and affection after being away for so long. I figured with all that I’ve been through and making life not about me, I could handle returning without my parents greeting me.
I owe a lot to my brother who was in on the surprise since the end of May, who was willing to cooperate, keep a secret and willing to be at the airport whenever my flight touched ground. Thanks, DUDE.
My parents went out of town the day I arrived, Thursday July 10 so I had a few days to adjust to being back home and organize (aka: make a bigger mess) my room. I thought coming home only to my brother might find me very emotional without my mom or step dad home but I managed. I knew in advance so I set my expectations to see them in 3 days.
My brother picked up my mom and step dad from the airport and I made sure I was chilling on the couch as if it were any other day- so normal for me to be there. My brother helped carry in their luggage so my mom could enter first but my step dad did. He started to make a sound and I silently put a finger to my lips and he stopped making a sound. My mom wondered what it was, expecting my cousin might be over.
The moment my mom caught a glimpse of me, she went into shock. She stopped walking, put her hands to her temples and repeated, “This is a dream, this is a dream.” I hesitated and then ran up to give her the biggest hug. Tears of happiness flowed. The best surprise I could ever give my mom.
The strangest thing is, it feels like I saw her yesterday. It feels like no time has passed and yet so many phone calls, emails and texts remind me I was gone for NINE freaking months! Plenty of times she helped me along the way when I felt alone, sad, disappointed, frustrated, uncertain as well as happy, alive, full of energy, inspired, always encouraging me in my travels, even though she desperately would have preferred me at home.
Why is time so weird?