The small plane came in for a landing and my daughter thought she could see her cousin on the ground (which she couldn't). We unbuckled and she told me that she couldn't wait to see Poland and her family. How she was so excited.
She grabbed her little red jacket, put on her black Maryjanes, her "Poland shoes" as she still calls them, her Care Bear who she had looking out the window with her before. Put back on the teddy bear book bag with leash, held my hand, turned to her Dziadek and said, "Dziadek, you're home!"
Turned around quickly to face the front of the plane, smiled brightly at the flight attendants, waved goodbye and proclaimed loudly in English, "My cousin is outside waiting to meet me! Isn't that cool?"
Down the steps, onto a standing shuttle, across the runway to the small airport, into a room that is the Wroclaw airport. Baggage claimed, paperwork in order, men dressed in Polish army attire whom I whispered in my daughter's ear that they were there protecting Poland, eyes wide, taking in the new surrounding.
The voices around spoke Polish everywhere. The air smelled different. Her fingers in mine, close to me but not scared.
A face was in the crowd, waving for a moment, smiling. Another and another. And I knew them and my heart leaped. I pointed them out to her, "That's your family."
"That's my family, Mommy? Really?" she whispered. And waved back, pulling against my hand to walk faster.
Embraces, kisses on cheeks, my father reunited with his brother. My cousins watching the two brothers hugging, the oldest was too young to remember my father, the others were not yet born when we left Poland so had never met him.
My daughter greeted everyone with a huge smile and hug. "You're my mommy's cousin? Wow! I never met any of her family except her Mommy and Daddy before!"
My cousins used the English they know with her and she jumped up and down, "You speak English and Polish? Wow! I don't know Polish but my Mommy does! But I want to!"
Walk outside, fresh air, the brothers lighting up cigarettes, my daughter chiding my father that they smell terrible.
A little girl in pink clutching her mommy's hand holding a large gift bag, staring. Introductions. "This is your cousin." My daughter can be overwhelming at times, wonderfully overwhelming. I can't blame the little girl for being nervous around it all. She's beautiful. I look at her, looking at every feature on her face, hoping the two girls become like sisters the way I am with my cousins.
Gifts exchanged, dolls clutched tight. Children cooed over by the adults.
Walking down the sidewalk, so different from the sidewalk back in the US, to the cars parked by gardens bursting with flowers, and off we went.
My daughter sat next to me in the van in a borrowed car seat and I asked, "So, what do you think of Poland so far?"
Arms thrown around my neck, whispered in my ear, "I love it! Thank you, Mommy! I can see why you miss it so much."
My Older Daughter's First Trip to Poland, The Planning
My Older Daughter's First Trip to Poland, Wordless Wednesday
My Older Daughter's First Trip to Poland, Our Departure
My Older Daughter's First Trip to Poland, On the Plane and in Munich