Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Jump and a Hug

Never have I been greeted with such affection at the airport. Don’t get me wrong, my family is always happy to see me when I step through the glass doors separating travelers from non, but this was amazing.

My nephew, Dylan ran to me and jumped at me. He threw himself into my arms. My body was the wall that stopped his forward motion. It all becomes a blur after that. I don’t think he literally jumped so that I caught him and lifted him, but he jumped at me nonetheless. Quickly followed by my niece Abbi who had a clear shot at my neck as she threw her arms around me.

I’m not surprised at Abbi’s reaction, I mean she’s 10-years-old and we’ve had more time together. We talk and text and email each other. It’s just different. I’ve established a relationship with her.

Dylan is only six. I hadn’t seen him, or Abbi, in 15 months. I’m told he was giddy with excitement at my pending arrival. I was told that he walked into his mother’s bedroom that morning to announce that it was today. Cue Mame’s first solo “It’s Today” from the musical Mame. I should have worn a red suit because I was most certainly Santa Claus. Scratch that. I outranked Santa Claus. I mean come on. A 6-year-old wakes you up to tell you today is the day that Uncle Michael arrives. I’ve got some kind of power, right?

I was surprised to hear this. I didn’t realize Dylan really cared about me so much. Honestly, I don’t get to see him very often. I live so far away and he’s so young. We haven’t had one-to-one time to build any kind a connection. The fact that he was excited to see me confused me at first then I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know how I was going to live up to his expectations. Then I realized as I was hugging him there were no expectations. There was only genuine excitement. I had nothing to prove. I merely had to open my arms, and my heart, and let him in.

My surprise must have be writ large across my face for every person standing in that airport to see. As I came up for air I noticed the smiles on all their faces. What a lovely way to return to the place of my birth. Surrounded by two children who love me just because I’m Uncle Michael. Nothing stands in the way of that.

With a jump and a hug, vacation had officially started.