Aaaahhhh... it's nice to be home. After a short 24 hours in the DFW area (with the fabulous Neill-ites), I finally boarded a plane with Atlanta as my final destination! Most of the time I read voraciously on planes, but I was so anxious to be there that I simply plugged my ears with gentle, thoughtful music and watched for familiar landmarks to appear on the horizon. As the sun died spectacularly in the west, we hit the tarmack and emerged into the sticky Georgia heat (and smog - ick). My parents were waiting eagerly at the baggage claim with bright smiles - they each gave me an extra long, tight hug (which I returned with relish!).
When we finally arrived home, my "little" brother was actually there waiting (shocking!) - he greeted me with a (bone-crushing) hug too, but that wasn't the real welcome home gesture. No, his true greeting was to enact one of our little rituals. He waited for me to take a load off, thrust his large, buzz-cut noggin in my lap, and waited for me to start rubbing his head. I rolled my eyes and sighed in hopeless protest... but deep down, I felt that, for a sweet, brief period of time, things were as they should be. It's nice to be home!