As I look back, it was an almost normal Friday in the Alma household. We were off to co-op. Eric was working from home which wasn't the normal case, but since it was our 10 year anniversary, he was taking a half day. The plan was to go out for lunch at Chilis after co-op. Who-hoo!! What a celebration, huh? I was looking forward to the food, but it was not really how I wanted to spend my anniversary especially my 10 year anniversary. I was really hoping that Eric had some big surprise planned like he had gotten a babysitter and we were really going out that evening or something. But he had been telling me over and over, "Marshan, we just don't have any extra money to do anything!" Blah, Blah, Blah! I was trying not to get too grumpy about it, but it was definitely a struggle. I had even complained to a few friends here and there stating sarcastically, "Who-hee! We're going to Chilis with children for our 10 year anniversary!"
Anyway, I get home from co-op with the slight hope that he has another plan, and we're met at the basement door by him. I catch his eye, and he gives me a smirk and says, "Everyone go up to the living room now!" So of course, I'm getting excited although I'm not letting it show. He must have gotten me flowers or something, or so I thought. When I get up there, I scan the table, the living room, even my open bedroom door in hopes to see something resembling some sort of PRESENT, but still nothing!
He then has us all sit down, and he says something like this,
"Kids, you know that today is a special day. It's mom and dad's anniversary. It's our ten year anniversary, so I have a surprise to celebrate. We are going on a vacation, a SEVEN DAY VACATION. Do you kids want to go on a vacation?"
He was answered with a chorus of Yeas!!!!! and kids jumping up and down.
"There's only one place I could think of going, so where do you guys think we're going?"
All the kids shouted, "DISNEY!!"
"Uhh...no, not Disney...somewhere closer."
Slowly, it starting to make sense what Eric is saying. Seriously? a vacation? You mean, we're not going to Chilis? How did he do this? Where did he get the money to do this? Seriously, a vacation? Only one place he could think of to go? Man, where would that be? It couldn't be Disney. Where? Think, Marshan, Think! Ohhh!!! I figured it out right as he was saying it to the kids.
"We are going to....Gatlinburg!"
YAY!!!!! was the kids response although they had no idea where or what Gatlinburg was.
Eric then looked at me and waited for my response. I think he actually said something like, "How are you doing?"
I just gave him the look of disbelief still. It had totally not sunk in yet. How in the world had he done this without me figuring it out?
He then went on with the kids, "Now, Gatlinburg isn't as exciting as Disney, but we'll definitely have fun. We'll be leaving here in about two hours."
WHOA!!!!!!!!! Two hours?? How do you pack for a family of 8 in TWO hours. The laundry wasn't even done. There was no way I was going to be able to get everything done in two hours. I had to get all the baby stuff together. There was no way we could leave in two hours. Breathe, Marshan, Breathe!
"I've been doing laundry all morning, so we all have clothes so all you have to do is pack it. Don't stress out, Marshan."
After I had picked up my mouth off the floor, I vaguely remember telling the kids to get
("Eric, are there washing machines there?") so many outfits, underwears, pajamas, socks, and ("Eric, are we going to church on Sunday?") one church outfit.
I walked in my room and was greeted with a bed covered with clean laundry needing to be folded and suitcases all over the floor.
Eric looks at me and says, "I already started to pack my own clothes, Marshan, and I already brought up the suitcases."
Seeing the suitcases must have started to make me realize what was really happening. The man was taking me on a trip for our ten year anniversary. We had talked about it a long time ago, but then we decided against it. But somehow, Eric had still planned and saved for it, and oh my goodness! He had pulled it off. He had done it!
Even as we were actually in the car driving to Gatlinburg, I still sat in the passenger seat in disbelief, and you know what? We never did make it to Chilis!
But man, oh man! Eric Alma won the husband of the year award. That's for sure!
Gatlinburg, here we come!