How great it feels to type those words! Home has never felt better, let me just tell you that.
To catch you up...
Our last few hours in Ethiopia dragged out. We were just ready to be home. Finally, at about 6:30 we left the hotel and headed to Bole Airport.
Our last picture in Ethiopia before we left (this is a pretty big deal because Tonya and Kevin took this whilst having 2 little habeshas strapped to them along with many packpacks, bread and other goodies).
The first flight (about 8 hours) was great, both boys giggled during take off then slept the whole way. I slept fitfully, with Binyam's head on my lap it was hard to get comfortable. We got to Amsterdam about 5:45 their time so we just kind of walked around stretching our legs. With only 3 or so hours of layover we had just enough time to stretch and recenter. The boys had just enough time to gaze out the window for almost the entire 3 hours.
The flight to Detroit (about 8 hours)was also good. We let the boys watch one movie (which they only kind of watched) and then we had them sleep again. Both of them did, with Binyam sleeping almost 6 hours. I slept better this flight as well. The flight was delayed an hour and we knew we didn't have a very long layover in Detroit so we were hoping to make up time in the air. Zach kept telling me, "Prepare yourself that we miss the connecting flight, just prepare." I told myself that I did, but...
We got to Detroit and literally sprinted down the halls. At one point I was so frustrated that Tomas wasn't running that I kind of half kicked his butt (in a playful manner, but it probably didn't look that way). The guy at immigration took his sweet, sweet time and, when hearing that we needed to make our connecting flight, still wouldn't let Zach go get our bags ready. "This is a big airport, I'm sure there will be plenty of flights". Ugh and ugh. So then we get to customs, where we decided to report that we brought dirt back and coffee beans. Shoudln't have. Took FOREVER. By the time we got to the check in point for our next flight we had just 15 minutes until the flight was supposed to take off. I asked the woman if she could call to the gate and tell them we were coming.
She said she couldn't do that.
And so I lost it.
In hindsight, I probably looked like a really crazy person. My hair was askew, I had started the ugly cry, I was tired, I wanted to get home. It was ugly, I was ugly. But I wanted someone to pay for our current situation.
"That's bullshit! You can call them, you can tell them we're coming. I've been at gates where they are calling people to catch the flight, I've waited on planes when they've held it for people. Don't tell me you can't do anything, because I know that's bullshit! Make this right. Make this right. We've been on a plane for over a day, these boys want to get home, I want to get home. Don't tell me you can't do anything, this is your fault, MAKE IT RIGHT!!!!!"
It went something like that but was probably not that audible seeings I was ugly crying at the same time. I did get an "Amen" from the guy next to me, so that was nice.
She was kind of not a nice person, and clearly felt no compassion which probably made it worse. Zach took me aside, "Get yourself together dear, you're scaring the boys." And I was, but, honestly I didn't care.
So she told us of a flight a few hours later that was a direct to Moline, IL, otherwise we'd have to wait longer and go from Detroit to Minneapolis to Moline, getting home at almost 9pm. We headed to the gate that we were waiting on stand by knowing it was an almost hopeless cause.
We found out that we needed just 1 person to not show up. So I ate almost the whole thing of this.
Over the loudspeakers we keep hearing "If you are not at your gate 20 minutes before take off, you will lose your seat." At 20 minutes to take off there were still 8 people who had not shown up. To say we were praying would be an understatement. They didn't close the gate until about 5 minutes before take off, which was super frustrating. Lucky for us, a family of 4 didn't show, so we were in. When they gave us our tickets we sprinted to the plane, hoping that if we got on and buckled they would definitely not be able to take our seats. :) At one point Binyam tripped so I just yelled something like, "Save yourselves, get the seats, we'll catch up!" to Zach. I might have been certifiable at that point. But we were on, it took off.
Interestingly enough, our waitress had a connection to Ethiopia and spoke Amharic so the boys enjoyed their last taste of that. She asked us to wait until last in the airplane (are you serious lady? My kids are on the other side of this plane!) so she could have the boys check out the pilot's seat. Ok, fair enough.
Finally, the moment we saw our kids. It was awesome, it felt so good to hold them. Felt so good to hug our families. Just felt so good to be on Iowa soil. The boys actually were quite shy (surprising for Tomas, not so for Binyam). All Dailah wanted to do was hug and kiss Bini but he was less than thrilled. :) We did end up getting our first family picture, we thought it appropriate to do it by the "Men's" sign seeings there is so stinkin' many men/boys in our family.
Did I mention it was great to see our families and cry/laugh/love with them? Some of the loving people who showed up.
The moment we were all in the Pilot, the kids were besties. Talking, laughing, not letting language be a barrier. It was beautiful, a witness to what heaven might feel like. When we got home it was more of the same, the three boys went right downstairs to play and the two littles got to work in their room playing and hugging and wrestling. Amazing.
We got one snap of our babes before bed. I pretty much make summer the "undies only" season. So this is what that looked like.
Seriously great to be a family of 7.