After Hours Welcome Crew

The after hours welcome crew.

This was a tough trip to get geared up for. Some ongoing health challenges have had me feeling less myself than ever, and in my fog it was hard to muster up the energy to pack up all the things and head south, or even trust that it was the right thing to do. But I knew in my heart before I left that as long as I could make my way slowly and with care, as soon as I arrived it would all make perfect sense. I don’t remember the last time my heart has spoken a truer truth.

We got a late start but it was the forever-dragging Chimaltenago traffic that prevented us from arriving before the kids left at 5. I was disappointed to think I’d miss everyone but called the office and asked Lorena if she would still be there at 5:30 so I could say hello and drop off the few hundred pounds of luggage I had in tow. (Of course, she said she’d wait.) When I arrived at the door I was stunned as, one by one, smiling faces emerged, filing out to greet me with wide grins and open arms. These are the hugs that make a lasting imprint on a body: the ones that hold on tight and then keep on holding; the ones with hearts beating hard underneath; the ones that evoke a shudder and then ultimately a deep sigh; the ones that end in tears of joy and relief and the weight of everything that’s been held since the last time you were together. “Thank you,” they each kept saying. “Thank you for being here with us. Thank you for being here,” as if acknowledging the question my own heart had already answered, validating the effort and reminding me of all the many pieces which come together to make me whole. I couldn’t believe that this crowd had all lingered on a Friday afternoon because they knew I was on my way. They looked so beautiful collected in the street together, bright with the early evening glow of a sky getting to break open in rain.

And just like my heart had told me, it all made sense as soon as I arrived.