I'm T-minus 24 hours from the biggest Christmas surprise ever for my kids. Their dad is flying in from Arizona to spend Christmas with us, and they have no idea.
Slight background needed, huh?
For those that have followed me from the beginning, you'll know this year has a been a year from hell. This time last year the kids and I were in Arizona, living with their dad, my husband of (then) 11 years, though we had been separated prior to that for 2 1/2 years. Things didn't work out there, and in February, the kids and I moved back cross country to South Carolina where I still owned a home. From there things fell apart even more, and the kids and I now live in Virginia near my family.
Yes, I moved 4 times in one calendar year. Moving sucks.
So, the kids have not seen their dad since February. Please don't go thinking I'm a mean, horrible bitch for taking our kids 2000 miles away from their father. Don't judge unless you know the whole story, and seeing as I'm not going to throw extreme details about my life out there on the internet, you'll just have to trust me that it was a mutual decision and what was needed to be done at the time.
Where was I? Kids. Dad. February... there's my train again, lost it for a second.
It's been over 10 months since the kids have even laid eyes on their dad, except for maybe one video chat session a few months ago. I've tried my best to keep him updated via text, facebook, phone calls and pictures as to how much they've grown, what they are up to now, and what amazing kids they are turning out to be, but I know it's just not enough. I'm excited as hell that he's coming home for Christmas, able to see his babies, able to wake up with us on Christmas morning, able to make memories with us at this time of year.
And like I said, the kids have NO idea.
Orchestrating this whole thing has been fun. Here's the plan:
- I'm heading to work in the morning, as usual, but the kids think I'm working until 5 or 6 that night. Little do they know I'm getting off work about 3:30 and heading to the airport.
- As soon as I have acquired the Christmas Surprise, I'm calling my sister at home & letting her know I had a horrible day at work, the kids need to straighten the house, and I am NOT cooking dinner, so she better get on the internet and order pizza- NOW! (Mommy acting skills at their finest, hopefully.)
- The Christmas Surprise and I will pick up pizza on the way home.
- When we get to the apartment, I will stand behind the Christmas Surprise, he will knock on the door with the pizza in hand, and my sister will tell the kids to answer the door and get the pizza.
Ta-da! Christmas Surprise delivered to the kids. And yes, I plan to have video rolling to see the expressions on the kids faces. I'm sure I need to stock up on tissues now.
This whole thing has really been an eye-opener for me, (and the actual surprise hasn't even occurred yet) and has helped me to realize a few things:
- Family is the only thing that matters in this world. I could not have a single present under the Christmas tree this year, and I wouldn't care. Having the kids' dad here with them, with us, is all that matters.
- I seriously can't lie. My daughter keeps asking me, 'Mom, can Dad come home for Christmas this year?' My conversation with my daughter that is the only thing I can do while looking her in the face:
- How much does a plane ticket cost, honey?
- Like a thousand dollars.
- Does Mommy have a thousand dollars laying around?
- Have you ever known your dad to have a thousand dollars laying around?
- Then what do you think the answer to that question is?
- He can't come home for Christmas. (I end the conversation there with a look that says 'Sorry, sweetheart', but I know if I try to say anything else, I will just ruin it. Letting her think what she wants is best for now.)
- Technically I've been married for 12 years now, though we've been separated for almost 4 years. We were high school sweethearts, and no matter how anyone views this, it's how it is. He is my best friend, has been for almost 15 years now. I'm very happy to have my best friend home for Christmas.
- Though similar to lying, I've found I can't hide anything, either. For example, here's a conversation between my sister and I, while the kids were sitting 5 feet away:
- Sis: Hey, can we have chicken pate on Christmas this year?
- Me: Yeah, it's a tradition for us, along with a beef ball and a cheese ball. And I'm sure the kids' dad will be wanting it, too, since he hasn't had it in a year.
- (Awkward silence while we look around and see the kids are sitting RIGHT NEAR US)
- Sis: So, um... you're gonna email him the recipe for the pate, right?
- Me: Ummm.... yeah, so.... um..... he can make it on Christmas morning in Arizona.....
- There really is such a thing as a Christmas miracle. We honestly didn't think he'd be able to come home; neither of us had the money, and a family member that had promised the plane ticket backed out of it. He found a great deal on the tickets, I told him to keep my child support for the month if he needed to use it to buy the ticket, he said 'Screw it' and bought them on a whim, and now that family member is reimbursing him for the tickets, which means I'm still getting my child support. Things work out when you are doing what's right.
So, fingers crossed everything will work out as we have planned it to in our heads. Even if the plan is ruined by me not being able to contain myself tomorrow, or my smart (ass) daughter figuring it all out, the most important thing is getting the Christmas Surprise home to his kids.
And we can't forget the pizza, either. If my kids think there's pizza coming and we show up with no pizza, after the initial shock of their dad being home wears off, they'll ask where the pizza is... guaranteed.