Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spring Break and a Happy Surprise

The girls and I have been enjoying some time off this week. Spring break always comes at a rough time of year for Hubby. As a financial planner, he prepares taxes as part of his services, so from mid-March to mid-April, life pretty much sucks for him and taking extended time off is generally out of the question.

This year, I decided to take the girls to see my parent's new home in West Palm Beach. If I had no Hubby, I would definitely need reinforcements with the kids. And although I'd never been there, the pictures my parents sent of their new community pool looked amazing -- like a resort hotel (note to self -- THIS is the way to retire). No doubt the pool alone would keep the girls happy, occupied and out of my hair for many hours.

The girls were SO excited to see grandma and grandpa's new house and to swim in their pool, they were bouncing off the walls the entire week leading up to our trip. When the day finally arrived, Hubby dutifully dropped us off at the airport, kissed us goodbye and told me to call him when we got there. The airport was packed and I steeled myself for the normal Atlanta airport headaches -- very long lines with squirmy, impatient kids. It's these times that I regret being past the stroller phase -- a guaranteed ticket to the front of the security line in Atlanta. After getting through the worst of it, relief came when we got on the inter-concourse train. DD#2 looks forward to that ride almost as much as any ride at Disney World. I love to watch the smiles emerge on the other passenger's faces when she cries "Wheeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!" as the train flies from one station to the other. Kids have a great way of reminding us how to appreciate the finer things in life.

On the plane, I was so grateful that the girls are now old enough to occupy each other and themselves. When they were babies, we always worried about major melt downs (the doozie that DD#2 had as a baby on a small Delta Connection flight is forever ingrained in our psyche). And when they were toddlers, I would load up their backpacks with a bazillion activities and snacks and carefully orchestrate their entertainment over the course of the flight to keep them sitting and satisfied. Now that they can pack their own bags and entertain themselves, life is so much better. Aside from having to help them get things out of their bags and keep them from spilling their drinks all over themselves, I can now actually read a few pages of a book during the flight. My heart went out to the mom sitting behind us who was traveling with three young boys who looked to be between the ages of 7 years and 6 months. I smiled when I overheard her say to her oldest, "Remind me never to do this again."

"Why?" the 7-ish year old asked innocently.

"Because I. Am. Insane." the poor mom lamented as she tried to keep the baby quiet with a bottle while stoping her three-ish year old from knocking the bejeezus out of DD#2's seat. Insane, indeed. I totally felt for her. During the flight, I wondered how Hubby was planning to spend his down time while we were away. I figured he would do the normal guy thing and veg out in front of the TV, watching sports. I was sorry he'd miss seeing my parents' new house. It would have been nice to have him there.

The girls and I got off the plane at the West Palm airport and started to make our way toward baggage claim when I spotted a rather handsome familiar-looking dude sitting up ahead. It was Hubby, trying to look very nonchalant. He had bought a ticket on our flight at the last minute and decided to surprise us. The girls were amazed to see him and I was so happy, I practically bawled right there in the West Palm airport. He planned the whole stealth operation, from choosing his seat in the front of the plane, to hiding from us at the Atlanta airport, to getting on the plane at the last minute to emailing my parents ahead of time so that they would have enough room for him in the car when they picked us up at the airport. He even arranged for our nanny to take care of our dog and cat while he was away.

Hubby only stayed in West Palm for the weekend, but I was so glad he was there for at least part of the vacation. The girls had a fabulous time at my parents' house and pool, despite a terrible sunburn that they got the first day we were there (never let your children spend six hours straight in a pool in Florida, no matter how many times you slather them with sunscreen. Watching your baby's perfect skin blister and peel is enough to make any mom feel like a failure.) But with some hats and some carefully timed outings, we managed to work around the sun and have a good time the rest of our time in Florida.


Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

Oh what a wonderful surprise - you've got an awesome hubby there! Although I'm jealous of the whole Florida, pool thing... :)

Julie Pippert said...

Hey that sounds great (other than the sunburn)!

LiteralDan said...

That was a cool surprise, but man, the first half of your post had me dreading the next time we have to fly with our kids, strollers or no.

It really is just an ordeal to overcome-- I don't think people who've never done could possibly understand. I know I never did.

Glad you guys had a good time. I'm jealous!

Magpie said...

i love that he snuck onto the plane and met you there! charming.