The Fella went on a trip to do the do that he does. For three and a half weeks. He was scheduled to come home today.
He did not come home as scheduled.
I’ve had this day circled in my mind, my heart, and with everything that has gone wrong around here–I’ve counted down the days.
The backed up kitchen sink.
The brand new washing machine flooding water on the laundry room floor.
The vacuum cleaner belt broken.
The dryer running hot, and therefore, not at all.
Each thing, I’d say–we can do this. For 21 more days, fifteen, ten, six, two, and then yesterday morning I woke up thinking, “One more day.”
I almost cried.
We’ve had some good times while he’s been gone. Cooter tried out and made the swim team. The littles wrapped up their summer gymnastics fun. Aub got an A in her summer class, and worked out continuing her summer job she loves so much as a Fall internship. We’ve visited with friends and family and eaten breakfast for supper and lots of yogurt and pizza. We’ve gone and gotten peaches, and I’ve put nearly all of them up in the freezer. The littles have played at their cousin’s, and Aub and I’ve had a couple of “Big Girl” days. All in all, we’ve not only survived, but we’ve lived.
However, this day, today, that I had circled in my mind, was the day I was going to pass the reins over to another adult and sit down and take a long needed deep breath. (Oh and someone else would be taking out the garbage. Yay.)
Yesterday afternoon, after the crew and I had been out running errands, doing our day to dailies, I was tidying up in the house a little. The littles and Aub were scattered around the rooms, doing different things, when the phone rang. Our Princess answered, calling out that it was Daddy, and then she talked for a minute or two. After that she handed the phone to Cooter. I was back and forth between the room they were in and the kitchen. When I walked back in, Cooter was off the phone.
“Did you hang up?” He can get easily distracted, so it would have been like him to be so distracted his Daddy would say he’d just call back later.
“No,” Cooter said. “He said he had to go.”
Huh. Well, that was weird. He didn’t want to talk to me?! I was working up my indignation, when Anxiety Girl whispered that maybe the plane had broken down and he was trying to come up with a way to tell me he wouldn’t be home on time.
I walked back into the kitchen and heard Aub coming in from the garage. I wondered why she’d gone out there. I also wondered why she was closing the door so carefully instead of tossing it shut like she and I usually do. I was about to call her out for doing that, saying that it made me think the Fella had come home early, when I realized I saw her feet in the recliner.
And I saw my Fella standing in the doorway.
With the biggest grin on his face.
We don’t have to go into detail about my expression (goofy), but the only words I could get out were, “What are you doing here?”
And then chaos and laughter and “gotcha’s” ensued.
Seems that the original return home date was only for the first few days of him being gone. It was then backed up to Friday and had been for about three weeks.
And he kept the secret this whole time. Every time I’d say “so, Saturday the 2nd, right?” calculating how much more I could handle without losing my cool or how I could do laundry considering and so on–he would reply, “Yep, if the plane takes off on time.”
That man had the biggest grin on his face the whole afternoon and evening. Pretty pleased with himself he was. At one point I looked over, glad he was home–he had already fixed the dryer, thank goodness–and I asked, “What were you even thinking?”
And he said, “Well, I figured you were due for a good surprise.”
Yessir. I think I pretty much was. We all were. And that he struggled to keep his secret for that long (and believe me, as much as I asked him about it–and even three days ago said “just go get on a plane and come home early”–it had to have been a struggle) makes it pretty awesome.
Tonight I’m thankful that all that fell apart while he was gone, including emotions and worries and vacuum cleaners, have all pretty much been repaired. Now we are all catching up on sleep and preparing to say goodbye to summer together.
Which is really when we are at our best. When we’re together–all five of us. Oops, six–sorry, Miss Sophie. I’m pretty sure she thought something really bad had happened to him the way she refused to let me out of her sight.
If you ever get a chance to give someone a good surprise, big or small, do it. Please. There are far too few of those in this lifetime.
Wishing you all something that makes you smile so much you just about can’t stop.
Love to all.