5.26.2006

A warm welcome

After two long years in Cameroon, Sharon is finally back in California. I desperately wanted to meet her at LAX... but I got mixed up about the day, and missed my chance.

It was around 3:00 Wednesday afternoon when I realized that Sharon was not actually coming in on Thursday, but HAD arrived at 10:30 Wednesday morning. Desperately anxious to see her, I tried to track her down that evening. To no avail. She was off someplace with Jim. Surprise, surprise. It's probably just as well that I couldn't find his cell phone number, because then I would have had a terrible, guilt-wracked battle with myself over whether or not I was going to interrupt their first afternoon together since he flew down to Africa to propose six months ago.

As it was, all I could do was debate with myself how late I dared try calling her hosts again. In the end,I decided I really didn't dare call back at all, just leave a message and wait by the phone.

I wanted to call her first thing in the morning. I rationalized it to myself, saying that Sharon has always been an early riser, and jet-lag is on my side here...

But in the end, I waited, glancing at the clock incessantly, until the sensible hour of 8:30.

At which point I promptly discovered that she'd been doing the same for the past hour and a half.

At any rate, she and Jim were going to jaunt about hither and thither and yon, meeting various long-missed friends. They were meeting some of Jim's Fullerton pals at 1, and then they would just bop down the street to our house.

In my head, I knew full well that I shouldn't expect them until rather later in the afternoon, but from around 1:30 on, I jumped up and looked out the window every time I heard an approaching vehicle.

I talked to Andy on his cell phone at 3:30. He told me that a nurse from the insurance company was coming at 4:30. After the third kid arrives, it's time to beef up the life insurance, and of course the underwriters wanted to verify that he was't likely to make use of such a policy.

Shoot. I thought that was next week. Well, maybe Sharon and Jim and I can take the kids to the park or something.

Car after car passed right by our driveway, but finally, shortly after 4, one of them actually pulled. A willowy red-head stepped out and started walking toward our door. She'd changed a lot. Two years in Africa must have aged her twenty. I hardly recognized her.

I rushed to the door with my arms wide open, excitedly calling out my welcome. "Sharon!"

Inches away from a hearty embrace, I screeched to a halt, reeling with disorientation, and struggling to keep my balance while fighting the momentum propelling me into a stranger's arms.

She had a stethescope around her neck.

Sharon and Jim eventually did arrive, and the nurse was gone by then, and we had a wonderful evening together.

But when Sharon came to the door, I couldn't greet her with a hug. In fact, I had to send Andy to answer the door.

My hands were covered in pizza dough.

2 comments:

Matthew said...

Nurses need hugs, too. ;)

Christa said...

Isn't that the truth!? I can't get over how many times that has happened to me. . . and then the 'real' big moment - I mess out in one way or another. :)

C'est la vie, I suppose.

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