The Block Family – Christmas 2013
There are very few real surprises in life. I mean really – if you think about it – when was the last time you were truly SURPRISED by anything? At least, anything good?! Surprises, usually tend to be bad:
Surprise! A flat tire!
Surprise! Your jeans from last fall don’t fit anymore!
Surprise! Mommy I gavemyself a haircut!
See what I mean?
And, the GOOD things in life, usually aren’t really surprises. Or atleast, for me they haven’t been. For example – when Jeff proposed, I wasn’t SURPRISED – I knew he was going to eventually because we had talked about it. Or my pregnancies – I wasn’t really surprised when the little stick showed a “plus” sign, because we had TRIED to get pregnant. Now, was I stunned and overcome with emotion and joy in both of these scenarios? Yes, for sure! But if I’m being really honest, I don’t think I was really SURPRISED.
In fact, as I reflect on my life, I think I have really only been TRULY and PLEASANTLY surprised three times:
1.) When Jeff said, “It’s a girl!”
2.) When Jeff said, “It’s a boy!”
3.) When my brother Theo showed up for our wedding. This seems like a normal thing for a brother to do I know, but mine was living in Australia on a student salary and had warned me that he wasn’t going to be able to afford the trip home. So, when he walked in the door, 10 days before my big day… I was truly and pleasantly SURPRISED!
So – given my perspective on surprises – I think it’s important to take the opportunity to pleasantly surprise others as often as possible. Which is why, despite months of warning the family that we WOULD NOT BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS…… we showed up anyway!
Truthfully, until about two weeks before the Christmas holiday began, we really hadn’t planned on returning to Canada – it was just too expensive a flight for a family of four during a very busy travel season.
However – my homesick-self was searching airline flight deals daily when, wonder of wonders, I actually found one! A deal! And not just any deal… a GREAT deal. A deal that meant we could fly back to Canada for Christmas.
And this is where the idea to surprise people was born, inspired by my brother’s own surprise years earlier.
We couldn’t keep our arrival a secret from everyone – after all, someone had to pick us up at the airport and make sure the family was around. But, we decided that Mom didn’t need to know. She had been the most heart-broken over the idea of not seeing her grandkids at Christmas – so we knew she would be the MOST surprised.
We knew it wouldn’t be easy to pull off, and that the travel itself would be a challenge for us and the kids. But, our kiddos were rock-star travelers for all 36 of the hours we spent in transit.
Here’s the breakdown of our trip in numbers:
Total number of flights: 4
Total number of airports: 5
Total number of major meltdowns (by kids and adults): 2
Total number of movies watched: Meredith – 1, Jeff – 2, and Isla… hundreds….?
Total number of bottles made on airplanes: 10
Total number of hours spent in the air: 15
Total number of hours spent waiting in airports: 21
Total number of hours in transit: 36
Until finally, we made it!
At 2:30 a.m. on Monday, December 23rd, we plopped our 2 year old on Nana’s doorstep and rang the bell.
Then we stood back, iPhone in hand, and watched the magic.
There are few things in life as precious as the look on one’s face when they have been really and truly pleasantly surprised.
It was the perfect way to begin the Christmas season!