ImageIt wasn’t long after the third week abroad, that the kids’ unravel accelerated. Every accidental moment: bruise, scrape, or hunger pain was followed with the exclamation … “I wanna go hooooome.” There is a point for most of us when visions of our own beds start to pop into our brain, and longing – even for the most mundane things in our everyday existence-starts to fade in to a loud mantra. I. Want. My. Home.

By the time we left England early in the morning, the kids were excited. Nevermind the 6 A.M. wake up call – they were actually eager to get on a ten-hour plane ride. We had Cadburys’ chocolate stuffed into every crevice of our luggage, and were on our way home!

As seamless as a plane trip can be, we were lucky. But really – your international trip isn’t over until you are lying face-down on your bed with all your luggage strewn wildly around you. This lesson we learned as we unboarded the plane and literally hit a wall of human traffic before customs. Apparently, there is some understaffing at San Francisco International Airport lately. And I say this with the mommy-eye-roll, heavy with the sarcasm, like, “sure – I love to hold your gum in my hand”. Topping off hours and hours on a plane … we got to stand in line for two hours because there were six international flights that all landed at the same time. Waiting in line is no biggie, but with two kids eager to see their own beds, restless from sitting on their bums for nearly eleven hours; this was not the welcome home any of us wanted.

Especially not mommy, who was promptly asked to “hold this” as the line crawled at a snail’s pace and children weaved more and more wildly throughout the customs corridor. People were camped out in little teepees of children, as one parent would hold their place, and the other would try to scramble about, projecting (only slightly less harangued than screaming across the corridors), “Stop hitting your sister”, “Don’t touch that”, “Stay here – don’t run!”.

Finally, the kids got their stamps and we were officially back. Our pace was slow at the realization that home comes to all those who just keep going .. even as we squeezed one at time with large snarls of luggage pushed or dragged through the single set of customs doors (yep, single-file, baby!). But the overwhelming relief of seeing someone familiar when you pop out of that small, customs door is insurmountable.

An excellent trip, an amazing adventure, and nothing tops it off like opening your front door, hugging your dog, and collapsing with a sigh on your own couch while someone else orders the pizza: delivery, please.

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