Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Adventure Begins

I didn't sleep at all the night before.
I had trouble comprehending that within the next 16 hours I would finally see my son.
I was also scared.
Everything that I had read about Guatemala scared me.
I had made the mistake of reading what our government had to say about travel in Guatemala the night before because I couldn't sleep.
There were multiple warnings and admonitions. They made it seem like there was absolutely no place where you could be safe.
Not exactly bedtime reading.
But there was no turning back. My son who had developed a great love for this dangerous country was waiting. Can you see the nervous fake smile on my face?  It is a mixture of fear and that butterfly feelings of excitement to see my son.  I had wondered for months if he would look different to me. When my brother got home from his mission to Japan his bone structure of his face looked foreign to me as if the lines of his face had changed from boy to man. I prepared myself to accept the changes in Jack.
We boarded the plane and buckled in and I accepted that there was no turning back. It was actually going to happen. We were the only gringos on the plane as far as I could tell and the plane was half empty. Not many people crowding there way there to visit. I tried to tell the grinning mad next to me that I was going to see my son whom I hadn't seen in two years but he just nodded and smiled. Soon I would be in his country, nodding and smiling, understanding little.
They served cheeseburgers.
How very American. I wondered if that would be the last meal I would want to eat with the exception of the crackers, rice krispie treats and pop tarts that were in my bag. The flight went surprisingly fast. From the air Guatemala did not look like the menacing land that the website had described.
 The plane finally landed and the lump in my stomach reached my throat. Breathing seemed to take effort. My hands were shaking as I wheeled my carry on through customs. I knew that Jack would be at the airport waiting but I wasn't sure where. The airport seemed deserted.
As we passed through customs I realized that there would not be many who spoke any English and the answer to my lack of Spanish skills from the workers there was to just keep repeating themselves. My confused blank smile was not enough of a clue and it only made me long to go back in time to better prepare for this trip. I realized that all of the people who were waiting for loved ones were not to be found inside the airport. They must be outside.
Jack must be outside.
Todd readied the camera prepared to document that first long anticipated greeting. He had been hastily trained on the new video camera and held it out as we started out the exit door. We had been told many things NOT to do on our trip.
Don't be out after dark.
Don't flag down a unknown taxi driver.
Don't bring your laptop.
Don't wear any jewelry.
Don't go into Zone 18.
Don't eat in people's homes.
Don't use sink water to brush your teeth.
Don't take your camera out in the city in front of crowds.
Within the next seven days we would break ALL of the rules except for one. I never did wear jewelry.
Todd had both the video camera and my new digital camera at the ready as the door opened. Behind a barricade stood 50 or 60 native Guatemalans waiting for their loved ones. Aside from their brown skin and hair and eyes they looked like any other group of families eagerly awaiting that hug that I was longing for. Jacks tall lanky body and dark suit stuck out like a sore thumb. His head and shoulders well above the crowd. I started to pick up my pace as I saw Jack making his way to the side of the barricades. My hands were full of documents and luggage and I wanted to just drop it all on the sidewalk, but I remembered the warnings. We finally made our way to each other and I hugged him, a strong long bear hug.
And I wept.
Tears of joy and relief and love.
I didn't care anymore if there was a picture or video or anything to document the moment.
It was one that I will never forget.
to be continued......

4 comments:

Just ME the MOM said...

What a lucky mom - sounds like an adventure to treasure forever. And now he's all yours once again - at least for now . . . :)

Kristin

Jack said...

Well what a nice blog entry. I will never forget that moment either. It's good to be back. =)

Kerry B said...

Shelley, you look awesomely happy. Jack looks uncomfortable being that close to a female. :)

Victoria said...

I am playing catch-up... long time no bloggie... CONGRATULATIONS on your son completing his great mission, and on YOU getting him back! Yay!!!