Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a big family person, yet life would have it that I live an ocean away from my family. Over the years, I’ve gotten used to watching Thanksgiving and Christmas come and go without seeing my parents and siblings. Nonetheless, the holidays sans my family always leave me feeling a little homesick.
With that being said, this year was supposed to be the year. Since last winter, my husband and I have said we would fly to NC this year and give the kids their first real American Christmas. I’ve been doing a happy dance in my mind at the thought of it since last winter!
But life has a way of throwing you curve balls and about a month ago, we realized that our Christmas 2016 in America just wasn’t going to be possible.
*Cue the pouting*
I was crushed and I may or may not have made sure my husband understood that over and over and over. I had my hopes up which made the reality of not going home for the holidays that much harder to swallow.
Then, last Sunday night, my knight in shining armor suggested that I fly home alone for Thanksgiving. It wouldn’t be Christmas in America, but at least it would get me my much needed family holiday fix.
So, that night once the kids were in bed, I plopped down on the couch and decided to look at plane tickets just for kicks. I expected them to be out of sight since it was so last minute, but much to my surprise, I stumbled onto a super cheap flight option! We’re talking the cheapest I’ve every paid in all of my years flying between France and the USA.
Wow, I told my husband, that makes me wish we could ALL go back for Thanksgiving!
Then I went on to plead my case:
I know it’s not convenient and I know that it would mean pulling the kids out of school, rearranging everyone’s schedule, and tackling jet lag for a short trip, but let’s be honest: if we don’t take the kids back for Thanksgiving with a price like this, we never will. They’ve never been in the USA for Thanksgiving – at least not when they were old enough to remember it – so this is our chance to give them a real American Thanksgiving experience!
And, like he so often does, my husband put his own plans on the back burner and did what he knew would lift my spirits: he bought us four tickets to North Carolina right there on the spot.
At nearly midnight, still in disbelief that I would be heading home in a few short days, I called my sisters and made them promise to keep my little secret. What better way to wish my parents a happy Thanksgiving than by showing up on their doorstep, unannounced and unexpected!?!
The next four days were spent reorganizing our schedules, packing our bags, and trying to get our sick daughter well enough to travel. We finally hit the skies early Friday morning, heading first to London and then to Raleigh-Durham.
Side Note: Our aircraft for the long-haul flight was the oldest plane I’ve flown on in ages and didn’t even have individual televisions! Talk about making a long flight with kids seem even longer….
But, all’s well that ends well and we made it to NC without any complications – unless you consider making your three year old son pee in his own water bottle during take-off a complication🙂
*Note: I washed his water bottle out with soap and hot water after the whole pee incident. But yes, he did drink out of that same bottle for the remainder of the trip, because homeboy should’ve listened when I told him he needed to go the bathroom before we boarded.
My sister met us at the airport and drove us to my parents’ house. When we arrived and started to sneak into my parents’ house, my little ones could hardly contain their excitement.
The look on my mom’s face when the kids ran into her sitting room shouting SURPRISE was priceless and made my heart want to burst.
I had to squeeze back the tears of joy as I hugged my dad, overwhelmed with contentment.
It might not be Thanksgiving Day just yet, but my heart is already overflowing with gratitude. We are counting our blessings in North Carolina this Thanksgiving week and that, my dear friends, is priceless.