The morning after Shawn returned home, we were off to Travis Air Force Base to catch a flight home to Hawai'i. The military allows military families to travel on their daily cargo and refeuling missions on a variety of different aircraft. They basically load us into whatever space was not filled for their specific mission. This means that we may fly a puddle jumper with parachute seats or a larger aircraft with commercial seats. The crews have all been fun to fly with and willing to answer any questions about the plane we are on. On the way there, we flew a refeuling mission which adds a little flight time but is no big deal. This plane had reclining mats with joysticks below where the crew lays to refeul planes. Pretty cool stuff.
I remember flying home during the college years and how much I loved the last little stretch that takes us over the Honolulu city lights. It meant I was home. Each time I step off the plane, I can count on the same three things happening. First, the wet air turns my skin into a sponge. Second, the smell of any given flower in the breeze takes away the blur of a long flight. And lastly, I find myself asking why I am living someplace else. The kids immediately start the excited talk of swimming, sand play, cousin time, and how they can't wait to see Grandpa and Grandma. No matter how many times I have come back, I can't help but feel sad that the time will fly too quickly and I will find myself leaving again.
Our arrival was celebrated with Khal-bi ribs (Shawn's favorite) by the pool. Thanks, Dad! Each November we celebrate Birthday Week. Shawn and the girls all have birthdays within a week of eachother and so nothing could be better than blowing out candles on a Chantilly cake. My kids race to put on their kama'aina uniforms (by which I mean swim suits)and don't really take them off until we get back on the plane. Bliss.