ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES

Several days before Christmas my wife and I usually go to the city airport to meet our children who come to stay with us for a couple of weeks. Actually, we start waiting for them in September-October counting down first months, then weeks, days and finally – hours. We know a special place at the arrival gate in the airport: when passengers have passed the customs control and are approaching the door to go out, sensitive detectors open it for them and within those few seconds when the passengers are passing through the gate and the door remains open, you can stand on your tiptoes, crane your neck and glimpse inside the spacious hall with a row of customs check-points – guessing which of the newly arrived is your son (daughter).

When at last the automatic door lets our children out, they emerge before us so dear and so young – bringing with them a part of their own lives, which is “foreign” only to their parents but so natural for them. While carrying the luggage to the bus-stop, we exchange some clipped phrases, in which intonation prevails over the contents, and by some words uttered by them in passing we feel how closely they are still connected with what was going in America yesterday or in Britain a few hours ago.

The Christmas tree is already set up.  As it was set up every December in the last 33 years. I bought the tree when both of them were still going to the kindergarten. In those days we used to call it the New Year tree. The tree is artificial, which means that with our “green thinking” we have saved 33 fir-trees by now. It makes my wife and me quite proud when we are watching the news about the summit on the climate change in Copenhagen 🙂

After several weeks the Christmas tree will be stripped off its decorations, dismantled into components, stacked on the upper shelf in the pantry and we will be seeing off our children to the airport. Our children will start departing to their respective destinations. On the way to the airport we — for the most part — remain silent: all of us think about ARRIVALS. Our children think about their arrivals in Britain and in America. My wife and I think about the kids arriving back home again. Next Easter? Next summer? Next Christmas?

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