Hearing the people caused a wave of familiarity to fill my thoughts and a sense of belonging to make the long flight fade away. But, at the same time, I didn't feel like I was returning home. The feeling that I had was one of visiting family and friends, which is exactly what this trip was all about.
After the plane parked at the gate and we all disembarked, the group made their way to the baggage claim area, where I saw my sister, Paige, and her immediate family. Noah, my nephew, and Kyleene, my niece, were holding up a banner that said, "Welcome Home, Uncle Greg." We gathered up my bags and made the way to the mini-van, where we all pilled in and headed to Piper's house.
On the way there, we talked about the differences between California and Maine, as well as the flight. I was hungry, so we stopped at In 'n Out and I lovingly devoured the Double Double Burger and fries before arriving at my other sister's house.
We pulled into the driveway of Piper's house, and everyone in the car was so excited. I was about to see my mom and she had no idea that I was coming. The whole family kept my arriving as a surprise from her.
Seeing Mom was a bit of a shock. I was so happy to see her, but I was sad at the same time. She was so thin and looked frail. She had very little energy and couldn't turn onto her side without help. She was no longer the strong independent woman that I knew all of my life.