As the plane neared Atlanta, we hit some weather. Now, a flying plane SEEMS to me like a great, leaden, behemoth that has become aloft under the force of amazing power, and pushes ahead unrelentingly through the sky. Not to be trifled with, you understand. So, when this plane sort of shuddered and slid lightly to the left…well, it didn’t feel right. The plane hopped and shimmied through the clouds. I looked out the window and saw the wing, undulating in a very wrong sort of way. But the BEST part was when the impeccably groomed business man next to me put away his Blackberry and his cool attitude, dropped his head into his hands, and prayed.
But then the wheels touched the ground, the brakes screamed, and the plane slowed to a stop. We all smiled at each other.
It hasn’t even started, I thought, and the best part of my trip has happened already. The best part would have to be when I didn’t die.
Then I made my way off the plane and headed out to find Joshilyn and Mir. When I spied them, they were sitting on a bench, both craning their heads to scan the crowds that filed past. I walked over to them and declared it to be me, and was gifted with great big hugs and exclamations. I felt like I’d been invited to sit at the cool kid’s table.
No, THIS is the best part of the trip, I thought.
That night we ate ridiculously good (yet healthy) food, and mocked Ashton Kutcher. We laughed until we cried, then talked until we cried.
No, THIS has to be the best part, I thought.
The next morning Joshilyn took us to experience the…joys of grits ala the Waffle House. Wow. They are, as promised, the perfect vehicle for fat and salt. I don’t see how you could eat them more than once a year or so, but oh my. Lovely. From there we went shopping, where Mir and Joss’ unparalleled bargain sniffing abilities snuffed out an OUTFIT. FOR ME. From Ann Taylor Loft! Mom advised me, when I showed her, to try to restrain myself to telling just a few close friends how much the skirt and sweater cost. I figure that means YOU, Internet! So! The sweater was originally $49, down to $10! And the skirt was $12, down from $59!! YAY! I won shopping!
That, I figured, was the best part of the trip.
That night we had the best pizza in the universe and watched another Ashton Kutcher movie. Unfortunately, we sort of liked this one. It was a little…charming. We couldn’t manage to mock it. I felt dirty. But we did pause it in the middle so Mir and Joss could surprise me with…a BRIDAL SHOWER. They were undaunted by the fact that I am, HELLO, not actually engaged. They are sly and wise women, those two. And oh my, the…um…practical gifts they gave me. I’m all prepared for my “new” life as a housewife. Except we ate the chocolate.
That was the very best part.
The next day we I had to go home, and so did Mir. I managed to go for a walk with Joshilyn before I left, and then her unreasonably wonderful husband Scott dropped me off at the airport. I had a little time before I left to think about the weekend. I’d been nervous about seeing these wonderful women in person. Mir especially, because we’ve spent hours – I mean HOURS chatting on line, yet until this weekend had never actually met. I would forget this sometimes, and IM to Mir things like, “I can’t wait for you to meet Clay,” forgetting that she hadn’t technically met ME yet. I wasn’t sure I could get to know another face to replace her avatar.
But being there, with her? Was like being with a friend I’ve known forever. They both just delight me so much, and I’m grateful beyond words that I got to hang out with them and say inappropriate things about patriarchs.
Getting to just be there with two women I’m teary-eyed-proud to call friends – that WAS the best part.
I was antsy the whole flight home. Not because of turbulence this time, but because I’d hit my limit for time away from my children. The last morning at Joshilyn’s I’d started following their little boy around, Sam. He’s just sproingy-adorable, with a vocabulary of fighting and explosion noises that would deeply impress my sons. And I was ready to be back among the chaos. The whole ride home I chatted mercilessly at the grandfather next to me about my kids. I told him how old they are, and what they like to do, and what their favorite colors are, and what they might be when they grow up…he started fashioning a noose out of his shoelaces, but I’m pretty sure he was just kidding.
But he was forgotten when the plane finally touched down. I shouldered my way through the crowd and fairly sprinted into the airport. Finally I saw them, across the baggage claim. I waved in that over-animated style that causes people to look at you with alarm, and ran over to them. The boys each clutched a bunch of flowers that they’d been sword fighting with. I hugged them tight and accepted their somewhat battered flowers with exclamations of delight. They were all talking at once, tattling on each other, and telling me of their adventures. Then Clay pulled me in his arms for a welcome home hug. I felt them close around me, a custom fit for sure.
And that, no doubt about it, was the best part of the trip.