Thursday, March 12, 2009

A heart-swelling kind of day!

A Heart-Swelling Kind of Day!

It's been my own personal philosophy, one that I try hard to earnestly remind myself of - people matter so much more than things! In today's society, many folks have sadly gotten these two items turned backwards.

Today, the children's schooling (thing) came secondary in order to accomplish two very important agenda items (people). *grin*

The first was to pack up the van and take to the highways for a road trip towards the huge airport some distance away, embracing an opportunity of a lifetime for our teens to meet up with a girl from their online school during her layover during her trip from Lima, Peru to Alberta, Canada.

Awaiting our friends from Lima, Peru
at the International Arrivals main exit area.

Her parents both grew up in Alberta, and both even lived in the same city- yet they met in Peru many years ago during their single days during which time they were lay missionary volunteers. Since this ministry soon became their preferred way of life after they were married, it continued throughout the years with their two adopted children in tow, usually spending four years at a time in Peru and then one year back in Canada to regroup and recover. This was their month to return home. Originally it was supposed to occur in May, but very suddenly accelerated when we received notice only two weeks ago they'd definitely be coming through our area.

We discovered one small problem at the onset of the trip today; throughout the threesome's communications, we found out we only knew her flight number from Lima, Peru into the airport, but not a connecting flight number. Having a chance visit outside of the international arrival passenger interior exit doors meant she and her family would have to exit the security area and then re-enter for their connecting flight later on. Since we never knew their connecting flight, we weren't sure how much time we would have to visit, but that small, very tiny detail never seemed to deter my begging kiddos. Oh, sure didn't help either that I was unfamiliar with both the exact mapping destination details to get us there, but also we wondered *which* of the three airport terminals she might be located within.

Another slight problem? Our GPS low battery warning kept sounding off, it was low alright and the adapter cable was locked in my husband's vehicle parked far away in the parking lot of his hospital. As an alternative, we began an attempt to log onto the computer last night just in time for the automatic important update presently being downloading, thus no ability to use Mapquest. sigh*

Today, everyone jumped out of bed early in the wee hours before 6am (impressive), rendering their early morning moments to pack lunches, fill water bottles, tend to the animals and even warm up and clean off the van. The reason for the latter was the surprise snowfall last evening with which our vehicle required a good brushing off, and that was the first time I said something quietly to myself, muttering something akin to "was I nuts" to do this today, and "what sort of adventure would this end up turning into" without knowing more facts. Add in the factor we were having a continuous snow shower which would be upon us for our trip, (almost two hours of it) leaving slippery roads in our wake AND the morning rush hour definitely out in full force with us for our drive. There were many moments (honestly) when I wondered if I'd lost my marbles, believe me! Twice I almost turned back for home. I'm glad I didn't.

Oh they were so eager to meet her,
their genuine "gem" of a friend!

With the inclimate weather upon us, naturally everyone slowed down and we were running quite late but later we found out, so was the plane carrying our visiting friends.

Somehow I made it to the airport, parked in the parkade and found our way to the inside international arrival's passenger door exit. Was this the best place to greet them we wondered, or should be headed to the connecting flight exit doors instead? Not sure. So, blending in with and feeling confident, there we just stood for just about 1 1/2 hours, admittedly people watching, observing all the passengers who departed from those glass double doors with their luggage in hand, swiftly moving and falling into the arms of loved ones.

Jeepers! I do declare an airport to be such a lovely place for perfect people watching, witnessing such tender reunions, while I'm sometimes caught wiping a few happy tears of my own resulting from the emotion oozing from the scenes surrounding me. It's better than any movie, or any book to be there amongst this type of scenario. Yes, it is, because it's real and not staged. It just makes the whole world feel right to see such a thing.

A fun sight - police on wheels

(wasn't there a movie recently with this same type of thing? hmmmm)

As we stood there waiting on the family we were about to visit with, a sudden turn of events caught us all by surprise when one of our teen's names was being shouted from behind us. In a flash we turned, and there they were! How did they do that? There was another door upstairs for International arrivals, so how about that?

The initial greeting was not awkward for anyone at all, both our teens glowed with the pleasure they were feeling to be able to actually get the chance to meet this "special gal" they had befriended last Sept. and beyond. Together these three and others from their online classes have enjoyed many hours of communications, photo sharing, and getting-to-know-you type exchange dialoguing.

Our two teens and their dear friend

As I stood a short distance away, the scene unfolding before me became so heart-warming to watch. The three of them hitting it off instantly. They were beaming with delight.

The only thing our gang never knew was how petite she was - 4 ft. 10". Her parents weren't too much taller either. Together, our teens and I suddenly felt like giants in the land of Lilliput, no kidding. We found ourselves ducking down when photos were snapped. Just to be fair, on the flip side she never knew our son was over six feet tall and our daughter was pushing upwards towards him.

Hail, hail what a wonderful memory!
Hugs were definitely not forgotten when departing
from one another, a special visit with precious people.

Not only did the teens/children all hit if off immediately, the parents hit it off in a big way. How wonderful to meet and greet new people, offer hospitality of some sort on their layover from an International place to our country.

Okay, here we go....what was the second reason for our heart-swelling day you might ask?

Hugs for dad, and our boys also offered manly handshakes

Awwwww, I was saving another heart-swelling moment for last. After our airport layover visit, we deduced it not too far to stop by the hospital for a lovely visit to see my husband. Hopping back onto one of the many highways in the vicinity we were off and surprised to be stuck in a traffic gridlock, moving at a snail's pace.

We caught him having his lunch and catching
one of his cooking shows on the Food Channel

She was wondering about his meal on the tray

We finally arrived just in time to catch him finishing his lunch and it was quite funny to also find him with headphones on his ears, and a television in front of him featuring a chef cooking show.

During his stay at the hospital, my husband has become a self taught culinary wizard when back in our kitchen these days, creating meals from plans made after catching a week's worth of gleaned recipes and bits of advice from his favorite chefs found on the "Food Channel".

Such an endearing moment to be together

Finally the children were able to see where their daddy lived during the week when he was away from home. They wondered about what he was being served for his meals and what was inside of all the little containers on his food tray on his hospital table.

His balloons still wave at him and cheer him daily

Finally, they could see where he slept, their artwork on the walls and meet his roommates. They were thrilled to see all the balloons I took to him for our anniversary, the ones still rising tall and mighty and not weeping downward yet from helium loss.

Relaxing and chatting up a storm

Together we visited and enjoyed the moment in his quarter room area, chatting it up and filling him in on the week's happenings from home in person.

My husband gave us all a little tour, relayed his schedule yet for the day and for tomorrow. They found it amusing he has to get into the pool again to walk towards and away from a rushing current for some resistance training. They found it amusing because they know their father can swim but doesn't really prefer to do it. :-)

As we strolled about, my husband introduced the children to one of his physiotherapists, his occupational therapist, two of the nurses, and a few of his fellow patients. All enjoyed meeting the children and knew how much our visit would have meant in the end. And it meant alot to all of us to share this time together. Finally he had a few moments before resuming his schedule and was able to take the elevator down to the main floor with us to say goodbye.

Tomorrow concludes Week 5 for him and I am so proud of his stamina to remain in the program and thrilled with the results for his physical, mental and emotional care. I just know as an added bonus once back at home, he will be spending a few hours this weekend in my kitchen again. :-) I've always looked forward to his BBQ cooking in late Spring and Summer, but now he is actually not only cooking outdoors, he's indoors enjoying our spacious new kitchen and proud of his new culinary abilities.

Darn, I have to confess how "tough" it is for me to share my kitchen though.....NOT! ha, ha, ha...

The television he gets outfitted with so he can
catch all of his favorite culinary cooking shows
on the Food Channel during his schedule breaks.

In the meantime, it ended being a huge day with all of our travels, for our beautiful visits and hands down - our group endeavor was so worth the time and effort it took to make it all happen.

** Just remember folks - "People matter more than things"