It became automatic. Someone would ask me when my family would be arriving in Washington and before they could get the entire question off their tongue, I would respond with the exact number of days until their arrival.
“22 days, basically three weeks.”
“Only 11 days!”
“My favorite number…seven days.”
“FIVE FRICKIN DAYS!”
You get the picture? I had a page-a-day countdown calendar in my head that would dutifully rip to the next number at midnight. But the page-a-day mental calendar has now been replaced by a digital clock counting down the time in hours and minutes. Right now it reads about 41(h):15(m).
It has been a long wait, one characterized by delays and cancellations, but my wife, daughter, and baby boy are set to arrive Friday at noon. By the time they touchdown on Spokane soil, it will have been exactly eight weeks since I last saw them.
As I flew out to Washington, I remember feeling like it would be eternity until I saw my family again. At that point, we had April 16 circled on our calendars for when they would arrive. But COVID concerns halted the original plan and pushed out what seemed like a distant date even further. Thus, a new countdown started with an arrival date of Thursday, May 7.
Just as the new target date switched from days to hours, we received more bad news beyond our control: Delta had cancelled my family’s flight. Thanks to Sidney’s fast thinking, she re-booked a new flight just 20 hours later on American Airlines. She made the arrangements before even telling me, saving my stress levels from going through the roof.
Barring no more surprises, my wife and kids will be here at noon on Friday. My in-laws are graciously accompanying them on the long flight. I am thankful for all the people who have consistently reached out to me with inquiries on the arrival date, words of encouragement, and stories of their own about being separated from their families. I am even more thankful to Sidney, who has done such an incredible job taking care of Sloan and Beau in my absence. Playing this waiting game has been tough, but as my dad told me yesterday, it will only make seeing them all the sweeter. Don’t Blink.