Don’t Ever Leave Again

I got home last night.

Wes was texting me before I even got off the plane, telling me that he and the girls were waiting at passenger pickup, eager to see me.  I rushed off as quickly as I could, finally grabbed my bag off the baggage carousel, and ran outside where they were waiting in our little green can’t-miss-it car, with a huge bouquet of flowers in the passenger seat and a shout of “Mommy!  You’re home!”

Then, it was nonstop girl chatter about anything and everything as Ana and Emma talked over one another in loud, giggly voices and Wes drove with one hand on the wheel and the other on my thigh.  I managed only about two words the entire drive back to Pasadena, and Wes managed even less, until we pulled into the driveway, where he told the girls, “Give Mommy a kiss, and get in your beds.”

And we were in the house, and I was covered in tiny girls, their pjs already on (he got them dressed before they picked me up) and their minty fresh breath in my face as they gave me kisses around giggles.  Before I could get off the ground, Charlie came bounding over with his wet nose in my face and a low, reassured groan in his throat, hitting everything around him with his giant, wagging tail.  The “hey, buddy” wasn’t even out of my mouth before he began leaping around, so excited that all of his sheep were once again accounted for.  (And then, he ate — something Wes said he hadn’t done since I left.  Poor, big, lovable pup!)

He wasn’t half as excited as Wes, though, who pulled me to my feet and came in for a kiss that was more than just a little involved.  I pulled away with a gasp, then smooched him again as he smiled.  And I told Ana and Emma, “I think you girls need to go to bed… like right now.”

We went to their rooms, where Emma struggled to get her shoes off while stepping through mounds of toys and where Ana still had three or four stories to tell me while stepping around stacks of books.  I got Emma tucked in then went to Ana, who said simply, “Baby Giraffe is missing.”  He’s no ordinary giraffe (he’s the lovey, y’all), so we began searching for him.  In doing this, I discovered lots of dirty socks, discarded school clothes, hair accessories, toys, books, and, horror of horrors, the mess that was waiting for me in the girls’ bathroom.  I turned off the light, concluding that the giraffe was better off lost if he’d wandered in there, and went back to look in Ana’s room.  Emma was back out of bed, loudly pontificating about the potential places where Baby Giraffe might be hiding, and Ana was loudly answering her as she began tossing more junk out of her closet, looking for him in the huge mess she was making.  I was halfway underneath the bed, looking for him when Wes, halfway under the other side of the bed, said, “We’re so glad you’re back.  Please don’t ever leave again.”

It’s so, so, so good to be home… and even better to know that I was missed as much as I missed them.

(And I already found Baby Giraffe this morning.  And cleaned the girls’ bathroom.  Some things just couldn’t wait until my bags were unpacked.)

Will blog about the weekend when the dust settles around here…

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