...departures and arrivals...
Ben and Mark left yesterday for Philadelphia. Toby, Harry and I waved and blew kisses from the doorway (ok, I blew kisses and Harry and Toby yelled, "Bye! Buh-bye now! So long! Have a great trip!") and then turned, breathed a sigh of relief and went back into the house.
The anticipation truly was terrible, but the reality was a relief.
The night before Toby was so anxious he could barely sleep, had nightmares about zombies and ultimately threw up. Mark, downstairs sleeping in Toby's bedroom to provide some degree of comfort, took care of the situation but didn't get much sleep himself. I was upstairs listening and then panic-stricken that Toby had the flu, had infected Ben and Mark and that they would either wake up with symptoms or arrive at Shriners on Friday barfing their guts out. Lovely image. I didn't get much sleep.
Ben, tucked in warmly next to me in bed, slept soundly.
In the morning, Mark and I refigured our plans for airport delivery. Rather than my driving them down to the airport shuttle he decided to drive them all the way to the airport giving them time stop in Chinatown (Oakland) for goodies for their flights. This also gave us time to make sure Toby was truly not sick. (He was fine!) And because we'd arisen for an earlier time commitment that left us with literally two hours to kill.
When Ben heard "Chinatown" he leaped out of bed and ran to get dressed. (Steamed pork buns and sticky sweet rice cakes are super motivating for my kids.) That done, he asked to play a game with me. So, out came the board games...and up until the minute they left the house the whole family sat on the floor playing Scrabble.
No fighting. No bickering. No whining or crying or hiding away with electronic toys. Pure, good old fashioned family togetherness.
A group hug of three brothers and they were out the door.
Throughout the day I received texts and phone calls from the wonderful folks at the Ritz-Carlton, making sure every "i" was dotted and every "t" was crossed in order for Ben to have the best possible experience. I heard from Kimberly, the Medical/Business Liason, who was on vacation. Kimberly, enjoy yourself!
And I heard from my boys. They called from Oakland International. They called from Phoenix. They called from Philadelphia when they were waiting to "deplane." Their day of flying across country was perfect. (Lots of cute babies, according to our baby lover, Ben.) He was in excellent spirits. They arrived at the RC after midnight and found they had the SAME room we had in February with the additional bonus of chocolates, cookies and cold milk waiting for them.
This morning they received hugs from old friends: Violetta (our housekeeper), James (the concierge), and Kylie (from the front desk in February, but who's been promoted to Guest Relations), and had breakfast at Dan(the concierge)'s favorite cafe around the corner.
Mark reports that Ben's comment upon awaking today was: "I think this time it will be easy."
Crossing my fingers, crossing my fingers.