Welcome Home

Welcome Home, Doll

The engine roars as our plane makes its final descent…my eyes are closed…”Thank you, Jesus, for a safe flight.” My air travels always begin with a prayer my nearly-92 year old Grandmother prayed over me when I had moved to Denver 17 years ago.

I had come back for a Clemson game, and it was time for me to return to Colorado. She hugged and kissed me goodbye as I was leaving for the airport, and she prayed for “the pilot to have steady hands and a clear mind”.

Ever since, I pray her words when the plane takes off. Every.single.time. I admit I sometimes add on to that for all our luggage to make it on the plane, especially on connecting flights. Upon landing, a prayer of thanksgiving is given, grateful that we’ve arrived safely.

Grandma Long

Visiting Grandma Long

The wheels on the jet that day were just about to touch down. I could feel the bump bump bump with anticipation. My older two children threw their hands up in the air like we’re on a roller coaster and squeal “wheeee!”.

Thank goodness they know how to buckle their seat belts tight as I was using my arm to hold back my youngest, who was excited to now have his very own seat and insisted on copying his brother and sister’s every move. They’ve all been counting the days until we were there. It’s always a highlight of our Summer. We were all smiling!

All of a sudden I hear “Welcome home, doll.” I could hear his voice. Those were always the first words my Dad would greet me with at the airport when I’d fly back to South Carolina. Always.

It’s still so strange for me to land at GSP and not see him. I still tear up, expecting him to be there. The last picture I have with him is at the airport when I flew back to Colorado after our family beach trip in July 2012. He died 6 weeks later.

Me and Dad last pic

Our last picture…me & Dad

This was my third time back since his passing. Every time, it’s like the bandaids are ripped right off again. I can’t help but cry. I do believe since I live so far away and am removed from the day to day of being “right in” where he was, that my grief hasn’t been totally dealt with.

On the one hand, it hasn’t even been two years. On the other, it feels like forever. Thankful for plenty of smiles to help dry those tears in remembering all the special times my husband, kids, and I have had there, and will continue to make when we visit.

Despite sadness welling up inside because Dad wouldn’t be there, I was filled with joy in anticipation of seeing my younger sister, her family, and my Mom there to greet us that day. Time spent with them is always treasured and full of fun, and I was so excited to soak them in along with the rest of my family we’d be visiting!

Mom and kids airport.jpg

My Mom, my children & my nephew upon our arrival

Now I realize people either loathe or appreciate humidity. Personally I’m a fan as one instantly looks at least 5 years younger when enveloped in it, plus we all save room in the suitcase with no need to pack lotion. My sweet husband is the opposite and feels suffocated by it, bless his heart!

In all sincerity, one of my favorite moments each time I deplane at GSP is when I feel the humidity literally smack me in the face. I absolutely love it. It means I’m home.

What do you treasure most about where you’re originally from?