Saturday, May 15, 2010


Two weeks ago, on Monday, May 3rd, I was walking into the kitchen when I noticed my whole family looking at me. My husband was sitting at the kitchen table and he said, "Surprises are best left to the very last moment (a direct quote from the Brit sitcom "As Time Goes By"). I suddenly felt disoriented, like I was floating. I looked at each face and couldn't figure out what was going on. "What?" I said, rather alarmed. I honestly don't remember much about what was said after that but here's the (ahem) short story. They had planned a two-day trip (beginning Tuesday) to Leavenworth, Washington, for us to celebrate my birthday/Mother's Day. And they kept it so under wraps that I was TOTALLY clueless! They were so excited, the kids had all packed their clothes and even had helped out (more than usual) with laundry and dishes (I just thought they were finally learning more responsibility - silly me!) I was in shock, so much that I wasn't all that thrilled to begin with. It's, after all, a financial strain on our already strained finances. I had told everyone not to spend a dime on me for this birthday (May 8th) and Alec almost gave it away, now that I recall, but I just wrote it off to his being silly Alec. I was happy but worried. I discovered a lot about myself through this trip. I felt I didn't deserve it. I was so used to being in control of things that it was near impossible to believe that everyone had planned this without me. Honestly, I was in a daze all afternoon. It took me a full day to warm up to the idea. I tried to tell my family how much I appreciated all they did but that I wasn't used to surprises like this. Now I know just how uptight I really am. And I don't like that about myself. I'm also more of a control freak than I thought. Ugh!

But, fortunately, my family loves me anyway and we had a very nice time. It rained, then snowed on us during the 6 hour drive into the mountains of north-central Washington. Gosh, it was beautiful. Leavenworth is a town that reinvented itself back in the 1970's into a Bavarian-themed, snow-capped village. The mountain view is amazing - Wedge Mountain looms straight up behind the town. We love the view from our favorite hotel. I can lay in bed and look out the window at "The Mountain". I love it.

After check-in, we had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. After dinner, we played racquetball at the court in the hotel, had coffee and hot chocolate in our room and went to bed. It's too bad the kids don't sleep well on the first night out and Carmen was exceptionally grumpy. But we got through it and woke up in time for the awesome breakfast this place serves. The breakfast room is on the fourth floor and has awesome views on three sides. Our hotel is also Bavarian-themed and the owner plays an Alpine horn from the balcony twice a day. A good photo op. We played golf across the street at the hotel's putting green, ate lunch in our room and then the kids swam in the pool. Dinner was at another favorite of ours, called Cafe Mozart. It's very nice with decor themed around Mozart and the era he lived in. The waitress actually remembered us from last year and seated us at the same table. After dinner, Chad and I played ping pong and listened to the nightly piano player in the lobby. Chad got to play a bit of piano, too, that night. The next day in the breakfast room, a lady came over to our table and told Chad how much she enjoyed his playing and encouraged him to continue learning. He beamed! Later, he asked if he could play on the piano in the breakfast room, just one song. Chad really had the best time on this trip. After we checked out, we headed over to a park on a little island on a lake that was created years ago by a lumber company that used to be there. Then it was time to go home.

I smile when I think of how, before the trip, my 9 year old daughter kept saying, "We planned everything, Mommy!" I'm ashamed at how I kept thinking, "If only!" I guess since I'm the Mom, I'm so used to being the one to make sure everyone has enough underwear and we've brought the right food and I've got my make-up, etc., that letting go is not something I easily do. I realize now that I have to work on loosening up, not worrying so much, and, most of all, allowing others to do something nice for me. I wrote thank you notes to each of my family members yesterday. I wanted something in writing for them to remember - not the stressed out Mom they saw at the beginning of the trip. How I wish I could go back and act the way I really wanted to! I was never angry, just in shock. That's the best way to describe it. I did have a really nice time and that's all we've talked about. So, hopefully, that's what the kids will remember. And I am so proud of them all, especially my husband. I'm proud and impressed that he went to so much trouble for me. What a guy! He really wanted me to have a good time - and I did. I just needed more than 24 hours to adjust to my "Surprise!"


Cate said...

Oh Kate - you So deserve it! How wonderful for you and what a wonderful sounding time with your family.

I remember you going to this hotel last year too - sounds wonderful. Am thrilled that you had such a wonderful time.

Also, thanks so much for the lovely comment you left on my blog today - You have been such a constant friend for so many years, and I do truly hope that we'll get to meet face to face one day.

C x

jugglingpaynes said...

I'm glad you loosened up and enjoyed some of your surprise! What a wonderful family to do that for you!
I doubt 24 hours would have helped. If you are at all like me, you would have freaked and fussed and taken charge and would have worn yourself out before getting there. ;o)

Happy Happy Birthday a little late!

Peace and Laughter,

Mama Self said...

How wonderful! I can't even imagine what that would be like. I know the kids must have been so excited about being in on the secret...too sweet! I'm glad you had such a great time; memories like that are such a blessing. :)

jugglingpaynes said...

Hi Kate!
In answer to your question, I can't even log in to HSB! They were supposed to send some password. Did you get it? They send me plenty of other things, so I'm sure they have my email, and others have gotten on, so I don't really know what's going on. Frustrating!

Peace and Laughter,

Rachel said...

Hi Kate,
Lovely to hear from you on my blog. I meant to come and visit the other day after your last comment - I will enjoy getting to know you on your blog.