We did make it home last Thursday and straight into my own bed. Woohoo!! After retrieving the first born from her class, and, by the way, she even looked smarter (and sleep deprived – honestly from working so hard), we started the journey back across the sea. The extensive lab work she completed was amazing and included time at the local cadaver lab! Yep! The girl was in heaven! Did I really birth her? Anyway, a long discussion ensued about where to try to catch a hop back. BWI had one leaving that night at midnight with lots of seats available. Ok, here we go. Back to Virginia to my buddy’s house again (6 hours) to regroup the suitcases for a couple of hours before heading up to Baltimore at 9 or so (1 1/2 hour trip). Checked in with another long lost friend while organizing all the ‘stuff’. (I’m so lucky my friends understand my life!)
Made it up to BWI that night, thinking for sure we would hit the jackpot and get on this 0030 plane. (That’s midnight-thirty for you non-regs). After another hour of waiting to make sure there were no more no-shows, we called no joy! No dice! I’d already returned my rental. Ummm…….now what? Now it’s 0200 and there’s not a lot of people hanging outside of BWI airport. Luckily the car rental places are open all hours. Got another one and arrived back at VA at my friend’s house at 0330……..LOVE HER! (For all my D.C. friends, let me just say that 2-3 a.m. is a great commute time!!!)
Spent Tuesday resting from our never ending evening and then Wednesday prepared to try again for a flight at 1730. Got to the airport, deposited the second rental, and when we walked into the terminal and took one look at the infinite line of military uniformed personnel standing in line to check their bags,we almost hung it up. There was no way that there would be extra seats on this plane. Or so we thought. God had other thoughts. They began calling names at 1730 and at 1830 (also when they began boarding this same plane), they called our name. The sweetest sound ever! We were ‘overbooked’ which means that if the uniformed military member showed up (whose seat I occupied), we’d of course have to wait for a later flight. We gave them our bags, walked down the terminal through security, and onto the plane. Amazing!
My plan was (when we of course did not get on this plane) to head to another base located a couple of hours away in another state, to try for another plane the next day. And if we had no luck there, we’d try for ANOTHER one in yet another state (3 hours away from THAT base). I’m telling ya’ this trip made me rewrite the definition of flexibility!! I remember sitting in the terminal praying for the grace and pleasant attitude to make it through the next few days if we didn’t make it on this flight.
I think it was right about then that I saw a family arrive, Mom, Dad, and Dad was pushing a wheelchair with a daughter, head clean-shaven and adorned with a pink bandage. She looked to be around 13 or so. I thought they’d all be going back to Germany, but later I talked to Mom as her name was called just before ours and we stood in line together. Her daughter had had a brain tumor removed and they had two other children waiting in Germany. They’d been on medical leave for a month and Mom was going back to care for the other two siblings while Dad stayed with their oldest. In the silent looks that are universal “mom language”, I could just see her heart breaking and being torn from her chest. Even though they’d had good reports from pathology so far, I can’t imagine leaving a sick child, on another continent to boot. Talk about a dose of reality! I’m so grateful to have met her, she exuded such strength, even in the midst of tears. But then again, I’m ever amazed at the quiet stamina of military spouses. With a never ending war and multiple deployments, if these ‘incredibles’ ran for office now, the problems and issues facing the nation this election season would be quickly dissolved. One little glimpse into the lives of another family, and my ‘little inconveniences’ dissipated like the German fog.
All in all, we had a great trip and our mission accomplished. He kept us safe. We got a little taste of southern America in the land of sweet tea, pickups, country music (I so miss Sirius radio), and folks of all ages who call me ‘Sweetie’. Loved it!