I’m off again, this time with my husband, Paul. Zoe and I returned from NZ just eight days ago, and I’m sitting high above the clouds once more, headed towards a weekend of excitement and romance. Paul and I had been apart for 5 MONTHS!! We need time to reconnect and get in sync. I told him we were taking a driving trip through Florida and stopping way up in NC to go hiking. I thought telling him we had a 14 hr drive ahead of us would cause dread and throw him off my actual plan. We left the house at 4:45 am and headed north on 75. Zoe called us to tell us there was a heavy fog advisory. We drove through the thick haze and listened to music singing along to Ed Sheeran and Paul Simon. Paul relaxed in the passenger seat next to me and wrapped up some last-minute business calls; despite the early hour of the day, his guys were awake and on their way to work.
I had packed all of Paul’s bags, so he was not fully aware of what to expect or where we were headed. He did, however, know he had to throw on his jeans and wear comfy shoes for heaps of hiking. He knew we had headed someplace cold. The thick socks and winter coat that I toted along with us were a dead giveaway. Zoe called us on Facetime on my phone, and Sabrina, Molly, and Annabelle called us on Pauls. It was 11:30 pm in NZ, but the girls were winding down from a movie night and drinks with friends, so they were still awake and eager to get in on the excitement of my surprise.
We drove through the heavy fog, and when I saw the airport exit sign, I said I had to go to the bathroom. I asked Paul if there was some place to stop before you got to the airport and then missed it. Then I told him I had to turn around and pull into long-term parking. At this point, he was on to me and said, “ well, you will probably have to go to the bathroom in the airport or maybe even on the plane.” I pulled up our boarding passes on my phone wallet and asked him to read them for me. He said, “RSW to Newark, WERE GOING TO NEW YORK?” The girls were still with us on the two phones watching his reaction on face time. Paul reacted to the big reveal in his excellent laid-back way, slowly and calmly saying, “ wow, cool, so we’re going to NY.” Sabrina laughed at his chill expression. Typical dad.
We are in mid-flight, snuggled in our seat side by side, looking down at the scattering of clouds that cover the hills and winding roads on the face of the earth below. The smell of pretzels and biacoff cookies fills the cabin. And the toddlers in front of me peek through the cracks of the seats singing and kicking around with energy and youthful bliss. It’s a beautiful morning, the seat belt sign is off, and it’s smooth sailing—a perfect start for the weekend to come