"One hug more."
"See you in a few days!"
We pulled out of the driveway, weighted down with two car top carriers, honking, waving to cousins.
Over Virginia mountains. Weaving through truck traffic, recording license plates, reading, sleeping.
And when darkness falls, we leave the highway to the trucks and wind over a ribbon of country roads. John navigates, scatters direction-covered Post-Its, shuffles and reoganizes. We grope tentatively through inky night, stop to read road signs.
"We're almost there!"
" This is the road. Look for house numbers." Eyes squint and strain.
"10057. Almost." Headlights seek treasure, family, at 11164 Frog Hollar Lane.
"Back up! You missed us!" A flock of children crows from porch and yard.
We do back up, thread though exuberant greeters, burst from the car, trailing empty water bottles and stuffed animals.
"Goodness, you've grown!"
"We've been waiting for you all day!" Words puff in frosty air, squeeze between warm hugs.
"Come in! Come in!"
A tangle of cousins, aunts, uncles, we step out of the dark into the puddle of light spilling from doorway to porch.
"We're so glad you're here!"
And we are too, glad to be in the warm welcoming embrace of those we love.