We pulled our suitcases off the luggage carousel, peering through a glass wall expecting the smiling faces of PoPo and YeYe, grandma and grandpa. Excitement turned to dismay as we rolled our baggage cart through the customs exit and the waiting room cleared, leaving us alone. We waited a bit, wondering if they were delayed by traffic, or perhaps by the car rental. My husband called the house multiple times without answer.
Eventually we realized that they weren’t simply late: it appeared that they weren’t coming at all. And we didn’t know what to do.
The children were pleased to discover an “Urban Playground” on the basement 2 level. It was next to a still fountain pond with bits of floating foam. I laid down on a cool gray marble step surrounding the pond and rested while they played and my husband stayed upstairs near the baggage claim trying the phone again and changing some money and visiting the info desk, all the while hoping his parents would suddenly arrive.
Lying there at 2:23am, I closed my eyes and listened to the clanking clatter and playful exchange of my first 2 kids on the whimsical playground. A jazz rendition of “Silver Bells” provided ambiance while a widescreen television tuned to the Singapore Cartoon Network droned in the background. I heard the footsteps and cell phone voices of occasional businessmen passing by. The piercing whirr of marble polishers on the walls down the corridor kept me awake. But the best sound of all was the faint rhythmic whisper of my baby’s breath as he slept in the stroller beside my face so blissfully unaware of it all.
Of course the mind hopes for the best and fears the worst. Did they have a car accident? Another heart episode? Were they okay? Were they home? Why weren’t they answering the phone?
Finally around 6am they did. It turned out that they were expecting us the following night and had merely slept through the all the phone ringing. I didn’t know whether to feel irritated or relieved. I was glad that they were fine, as they are elderly and I had truly begun to worry. They were at the airport very quickly after that, YeYe white as a sheet and extremely apologetic, PoPo saying she thought she may have heard the phone a few times…
And then began the adventure of cramming 3 suitcases, 6 carry-ons, 3 kids, 3 carseats, 4 adults and a stroller into a 5-passenger hatchback for the ride home…