they pick you up from the airport.
My Aunt Elouise and I were discussing last night a situation where she and my Uncle Craig were stranded at the airport after Christmas because someone they had counted on to pick them up wouldn't answer their phone call and never did arrive.
My Uncle is an airline pilot and so he has done A LOT of flying in his life for work, for travel and for recreation. And it has always been a saying of his that you know who your true friends are by if they are willing to pick you up or drop you off at the airport.
As I sat and thought of all the times I have gone to the airport and all the friends and family that have dropped me off - I realized that he is exactly right. I always have my closest friends - if not my awesome grandparents - take me to the airport. Because they are reliable. And they are happy to see me when I fly back in (images of Becca and me screaming as we run for an overly-dramatic hug that cause body parts to rip off and eardrums to burst come to mind). Going to the airport is never really convenient. Sometimes it requires taking off work. Most the time it requires waking up way earlier than you ever intend to, or staying up way later than your eyelids can even handle.
So to those of you that have ever driven me to the airport - defying death (Carla) or sleep (everyone else), I thank you. You guys are awesome. And true, true friends.
Post scriptum: I extend this post to some of my friends who were absolutely angry with me when this happened because I had my car in the airport parking lot. When I was telling the story, the first thing they asked was "WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL ME? I could have come to get you." I have so many friends that I can ask to retrieve me from the airport. And that level of comfort, I do not take for granted. My friends/family are absolutely the best.