Campfire Stories


My son is home – a happy dance

Yay, I have just picked up four loads of washing and a boy from Auckland airport.  We knew the plane was coming in early from Perth because technology is amazing, so we smugly set our alarms to a little earlier than planned.  It was very confusing then, to be woken by my husband shouting, ‘you have three minutes, get up, get up.’

I sat in the car and wondered if I had the right pants on, I knew I had no socks on and was wearing my daughter’s coat. I yawned a lot while my husband explained that the flight was early. I looked at the neon clock on the dash, ‘yeah right, we sorted that and are on time, slow down.’

African shoes

‘No earlier than that,’ I looked at my naked ankles, ‘NZ176 has made up another 30 mins.  He will be there waiting and we will not be there for him.’  My husband’s words were shocking in the half light and neon.

‘Put your foot down! I said.

Of course, we caught every red light, there were road works and nowhere to park at the end of our dash.  We ran across the carpark in the dark and rain, coffee aroma called to me, my husband caught my elbow and pulled me back on track, through the automatic doors into International Arrivals.

The area that spews out new arrivals, was packed with card holding drivers, bleary eyed travellers, efficient and fresh looking cabin crew, quickly clicking home to get some sleep, and horror, boys wearing a tour uniform that I recognised.  Breathless panicked parents were turning up, all wearing the same, we did not know the plane could be this early faces, boys looked around wondering where their parents were.

Are you sure there isn’t time for a coffee?

My boy was not through customs yet, so I scooped my hair into a tight bun, took a deep breath and put on a nonchalant air.  We spend lots of time together at the moment, mostly I make him cringe, so I did not want to embarrass him here.  I put my hands in my pockets, bit my bottom lip and scanned the faces as they pushed through. My husband saw him first and shouted out, people looked at us, I waited for my son to cringe.  He broke into the biggest smile, quickened his pace and hugged his dad.

beaded zebraOn the way home, we listened. He has met his running heroes with a swollen eye, ran with mad fast Kenyan pace makers, washed his own clothes, tolerated and loved his team mates, eaten lots of maize, had a cheetah on his chest, grown his hair, written a diary, missed his bed and long hot showers.  He has sat for hours in airports, buses, hot tour vans, stalled trucks and meetings.

He would tell us all about it when we got home, he promised.

Today our family is back together, the washing machine is on its second load, there is a beaded zebra and a tired boy in the house. I will make lasagne for dinner and listen to the first of his stories.

Is anybody out there listening to me??

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