I have always had a love-hate relationship with airports. They are covered in tears. Some are sad good-bye forever, come-back-to-me-safely tears. Some others are joyful gestures of excitement to welcome someone we love.
The movie Love Actually puts this last thought of joy being ever-present at airports in such a romantic way. I love seeing the embraces between family members, dear friends and lovers as the image brings me to the many re-encounters that I have enjoyed after traveling from one place to another.
The movie starts by stating: Love actually, is everywhere. Which is exactly my perception of this Christmas season in particular. I guess, if someone would have followed my little clan around, we could have been the cast of a Christmas comedy. You see, my parents who live in Mexico, had never been in the U.S. to spend Christmas with us. My husband and I, have only spent Christmas in Mexico once in our close to nine years of marriage. Our children had never experienced what it was to be around family for the holidays. But this year my husband decided to change that by having my parents over.
We kept my parents’ visit a surprise for the kids, because who can resist to add that kind of excitement to the season? They arrived in Chicago from where my husband and our toddler went to pick them up. All seemed to be happening right on schedule and I had managed to keep the older two children occupied so that they would not notice that their father and their little sister had been gone for too long. But of course, no adventure is perfect and our special guests along with my husband and little girl got into a little car accident.
Nothing happened to anybody (thankfully) but there was a need to call for a tow truck and a rental car. As the trucker loaded the misshaped car, and in the true spirit of Christmas, he decided to load the whole family in his truck so that they wouldn’t have to wait any longer to reach their destination. That wonderful man drove my family for two hours so they could arrive before bedtime and to make the whole surprise really work.
I was so anxious to welcome our guests too. Particularly, because after hunting for a gingerbread house in many stores that morning without succeeding, my sad 5-year-old proclaimed that in a time like this, the only thing that could brighten her up was going to my mom’s house. I just couldn’t wait to see her reaction. How many wishes do come true like that in real life?
I stalled the kids by having a movie and popcorn. There we were just playing in the living room when the doorbell rang. My daughter darted to the door and as she opened it and realized who was behind it, she twitched in excitement letting all the pure love, that only children have in their hearts, out. It was as if a cloud of love surrounded her and dispersed through the house. She couldn’t believe her eyes and repeated my parents’ nicknames a couple of times, almost as if she was trying to convince herself they were really there. My parents couldn’t contain their joy either. Even my son who had been a little bit under the weather that day, came out from under his blanket. His little heart beating so fast under his shirt.
That moment, which was planned and imagined for over a month, lasted less than a minute but it was magical, pure and full of love. I’m sure that it will be with all of us forever.
My parents’ time here was short but we took advantage of it. My mom made a piñata and a gingerbread house with the kids (yes, we ended up finding one); my dad and my toddler became inseparables but he stilled managed to play with the other two individually as well; we cooked a lot together; we even made time to visit some local traditional places and to have some friends over.
We closed the Christmas season surrounded by that cloud of love my daughter dispersed through the house and found that love actually is everywhere if we care to take a moment to find it.