It’s a cool crisp morning in Madrid, Spain. The anticipation is high and the boys have no idea what awaits them at “arrivals gate” but first we need to traverse the city on the Madrid Metro. 3 trains and a mountain of stairs between lines “Why don’t they have escalators going down?” asks Eamon, curiously. Porque, porque porque????
Madrid is a city known for its night life but not its morning commute. We’re grateful for the easy path to the Metro and our human GPS, Ann Glavin, is pinging like a Tom-Tom, “go right here”, “go left here” and “go 50 meters”…”Did she say meters?” As Abigail would say “The bossy lady said “go right!”
The wait at “International Arrivals” is, as expected, long and tiresome but we’re within 60-75 minutes to springing the surprise on the kids. Like the Navy said in WWII “Loose lips sink ships” and we’re so close to keeping the secret for 5 months. We wonder “What they will think?” and “What will they do?”
The doors to “passport control” are cloudy and there is a cold aluminum railing that keeps the arriving passengers from those already on Spanish terra firma. As the door splits like a banana every few seconds we peer longingly into the space hoping to catch a glimpse of the arriving “packages” from the USA. With each open/close sequence of the opaque doors a group is happy to see their loved ones and many are sad as they must wait just a few more minutes that seem like hours. The passengers that arrive through the door smile at the eruption of joy from their waiting family, boyfriend/girlfriend, aunt or uncle. The smile is usually brief as the dog tired face returns from the overnight overseas trip.
Seamus and Pearse look wantonly and you can see them almost crest fallen as the door slams shut time and time again. “Where is mom-mom?” “How come all these people are in front of her?” I suspect that a few passengers would have let her go in front of them if they knew that the grandkids were waiting 5 months to see their mom-mom. Everyone knows that feeling. A “mom-mom hug” is like being wrapped up in a warm blanket next to a fire.
I stand behind the boys as the magical moment arrives, Pearse yelps “There’s mom-mom” and Seamus still unsure that the 8 year old has it right after a few “false alarms” Within seconds, Sam Glavin pops out from behind his mom-mom and Pearse and Seamus look shocked and dare I say bewildered. They bolt from their crouched positions slightly below the Aluminum railing, barely missing their heads on the 3 tiered bar and they rush to see their cousin. In the blink of an eye mom-mom is playing second fiddle to the new surprise arrival. Like a celebrity Sam hugs his cousins as if to say “What you’re surprised!”
A warm embrace for mom-mom and Ann makes a quick exit to see if Ryan Air has an early flight to Valencia. As I hold my mother close and whisper “it’s great to see you here” I think “This is why mom’s aren’t allowed to visit soldiers!!!