Squatting down in front of my open purse I rifle through the papers and business cards and the rest of the jumbled mess that I carry with me everywhere I go, looking for my keys. The wooden porch boards around me are already littered with books and my laptop. I pick up the purse and shake it, listening for that familiar jingle jingle sound but I already know that as much as I look I won't find them. My keys are somewhere on the other side of the locked door.
I consider lugging my suitcase and two bags down to the corner coffee shop, but the light rain stops me. Instead I decide to stay here. How long can they be? I wonder even as I admit to myself that they aren't expecting me. Turning away from the street to gather up my scattered belongings, I catch a glimpse of a grey rain coat out of the corner of my eye. I straighten and run down the steps just as the double stroller turns into our walk way.
Hi! I yell excitedly. The husband starts. The girl whips open the stroller cover and climbs out before her dad has even stopped walking. Launching herself at me from the edge of the stroller, I catch her in my arms and twirl her onto the third step of the stairs. I lift the surprised boy out from the depths of the stroller and hug him before placing him at the top of the stairs. I smile at them both. Then the girl demands to know what I have brought her and we herd them inside the house before the entire contents of my luggage are dumped out in search of whatever it is she considers to be a good present.
Sitting on the couch later, I marvel that the children that had seemed so small and young only hours ago have grown exponentially in front of my eyes. The growth in size and abilities seems to be directly correlated to the amount of noise they have made non stop since my return home. I remind myself that they are just excited to see me and that once the novelty of my return wears off they will settle down. And then I remind myself that these are my children and so no, they won't.
I find myself longing for a little bit more of what I had these last few days. Not the learning or the awesome swag or even the great friends. I find myself thinking about the queen sized bed that I sorely neglected by only using it for sleep. I tell myself that the next time I go away I will lie in the bed for hours, doing nothing but staring at the ceiling and listening to the silence.