Tuesday Tale

It was 3:30 in the morning. The bags had been secretly packed. The flights had been booked and all other plans made, and paid for, well in advance. We entered the bigger boys room and woke them saying, "C'mon get up. The limo will be here any minute."

"Huh? Wha'? ... What limo?"

Louie was 14 and had just graduated 8th grade. Alex was 12. And Zach, who had his own room, was 5. It was the last day of school for the year, but we had signed them all out of school for that last day. We had someplace to go.

"Mom? Dad? Where are we going?"
"It's a surprise."
"No, really, where are we going?"
"No time to talk now .. the limo is out front, waiting. Get dressed in these clothes (carefully laid out the night before, after they'd gone to sleep), quickly now, while your Dad gets the luggage out to the limo."
"Luggage? What luggage? Where are we going?"
"To the airport."
"The airport? Mo-om!!! Where are we going?"
"You'll find out when we get there."

And so it was all the way to the airport. When we checked the baggage in on a flight to Orlando, the older two said, "Oh yeah, Disney World". To which we replied, "Oh no, NOT Disney World, Orlando is an airport of convenience, that's all."

And it was that way all the way to Florida, and into the airport, and to the Hertz Rent-a-Car, where we picked up a big Chrysler and headed east, on the Beeline, toward Canaveral. We got to the musuem there well ahead of our planned 'thing', so we went through the museum, after which we told the boys that, "No, the Kennedy Space Center Museum is not our final destination." And we got back in the car and drove the 5 minutes or so to where we were REALLY headed - the parking lot for the people who were taking a cruise on the Big Red Boat.

And so we went on the Friday departure, Saturday in the Bahamas, Sunday cruising the water and a Monday morning return to Florida. And the boys had a great time. Swimming with rays in the Bahamas. Shopping in the Bahamas. Getting beads in their hair in the Bahamas. Me, too. I had hair long enough to put beads in, back then.

So we got back in the rental and headed back, west on the Beeline. And right past the airport and onto Disney property to check in at the Disney Resort (I forget which one, now, but it was a 'Southern' theme) for four nights at Disney World. With passes for all the parks. The boys had no idea. This particular seven days was, for them, one surprise after another. It's also the most expensive seven days we've ever had as a family, except for buying the house and the various cars we've had over the years. It's the best $7000 I've ever spent.

It was a vacation like we'd never had before. Nor since. Not the whole family all at once. Parts and pieces of the family have gone to England (twice), Ireland, and Jamaica. But the whole family, all together, has only spent one other out-of-towner together - a lovely week on the beach at New Smyrna, Florida. And during that vacation, we saw a nighttime shuttle launch. New Smyrna is but 19 miles north of Canaveral.

It. Was. Amazing.

So was being there with my whole famly.



Casdok said...

Wow what a fab surprise for your children!
I bet it was amazing!

Jientje said...

I think you are a SUPER Dad! They must have had the time of their life!

Shadow said...

i can just imagine the excitement in those kids. you are the best!!! this is the thing that memories are made of.

witchypoo said...

So much fun I read it twice.

Myst_72 said...

Sounds AWESOME!!

What a fantastic surprise!


Christy said...

Oh, this made me so nostalgic. I used to live in Orlando, and was a travel agent there for a time to boot.

AND my SIL worked for Disney and we got in free.

Sounds like fun!

Patsy said...

Another glimps into the life of Lou, the father, family man. Love those kind of stories and looks into lives. That is what my blog started out and has wandered away from. You've inspired me to wander back a bit.

Best part of the story is the fact that it was a total surprise to the boys. I'm not sure I could have pulled that off with the girls. For our trip to DW it took weeks of planning on wardrobe. But then girls, or at least my girls, are like that. Oh, yea, like their mother. :)

Tash said...

Oh Lou... my stomach was doing flips reading that. Think I was more excited than the boys! What a great surprise! What great parents. What great memories!

Michael said...

And theres me thinking you was this crazy bachellor like myself, how did you manage to keep it secret, I gotta admit I hate keeping secrets!
Just come back from meeting in canteen

Karen said...

What a nice surprise and a nice vacation.

M+B said...

Wow. I wish you had been my dad!!! What a fantastic get away.

There is an award over at my blog for you! I love reading your stuff and I lurk here frequently (ok I read the feeds)!

hockeychic said...

Wow, that you were able to just totally surprise them is one of the most wonderful parts of this story. Also look at the memories that you still have from that. Thank you for sharing that delightful story.

Melissa said...


Hands down.

We just spent a fortune on our vacation, but I agree, those kinds of memories are beyond priceless.

maggies mind said...

The best surprise, Lou. The best! Sometimes vacations cost just too much, in my opinion, but sometimes they really are like the credit card commercial says: Priceless. You made it priceless. You are so cool.

Tara R. said...

I love that! The summer before our daughter left for college we packed everyone up and went to the mountains for a little cabin stay and white water rafting. Probably the last whole family vacation we will have. It was fabulous. I'm glad your family fun was so wonderful too.

Eric S. said...

Lou, that was a great story. There is one thing I want to know though, Who was more excited you or the kids. I'm sure they enjoyed that vacation and will always remember it. It's so good to read reminiscences like this.

LaskiGal said...

You, officially, are one of the coolest dads ever . . .

Pics, cause the whole long hair thing would be pretty cool to see :)

Momisodes said...

What an amazing trip! I'm sure your kids look back fondly on this time as well :)

I would have been jumping up and down when I heard "limo!"

Joyce-Anne said...

You are two very cool parents. What great memories you all have! Btw, you probably stayed at Disney's Dixie Landings Resort. Just thought you'd like to know.

Disturbed Stranger said...

I wish I were your kid ;)

That ust have been great! I'm glad you all had fun!!!

Jennifer said...

wow. you guys totally rock. and what a great idea to surprise them like that. ;) I think I'm going to use this idea for our next BIG vacation... whenever that might be.

I bet it was the best vacation in history. it sounds like it was awesome for the kids and you and your lovely wife.

great story and thanks for the compliment on my post from yesterday... i was pretty happy with the story except for how I ended it... I guess my talent had run out by then. lol ;)

xoxoxoxo have a great day!!

Hyphen Mama said...

What a great time! I can't wait until my kids are old enough to do fun things like that. I'm already fantasizing about places within the continental US I can't wait to take them. THEN, we'll conquer the world!

LceeL said...

Casdok: It was that.

Jientje: they did.

Shadow: And fond memories we do have.

Witchypoo: It was fun .. or do you need glasses?

myst_72: yes, Gina, it was.

Christy: Free? And you LEFT?

Patsy: All you have to do with boys is cover the boy bits. After that, they don't care.

Tash: It's one of the coolest things we've ever done for them.

Michael: Not a bachelor but not exactly a secret.

karen: It was Fab.

m+b: Thank you for de-lurking.

hockeychic: And they were surprised. Over and over again - for the whole week.

Melissa: Yes. Beyond Priceless.

Maggies Mind: Thank you, Maggie.

Tara R: Cool. White water rafting. But Exhausting.

Eric S: Me. I was more excited - but I knew where we were going.

Laskigal: I'm sorry, but the only pics of me with beads in my hair are in our heads. None taken.

Momisodes: Yeah. Limo means "Good".

Joyce-Anne: That's it!! Dixie Landings. That's where we were - in a corner room.

Disturbed Stranger: I was great fun.

Jennifer: It didn't end badly, at all.

Hyphen Mama: You, if anyone, would conquer the world.

ConverseMomma said...

I want this memories. I want to take my children to pyramids and 10 dollar camp grounds, just as long as we go together.

Suzanne said...

You are the coolest parents ever!

(btw, we told the kids we were taking them to the Lego store. Too bad they were asleep when we passed the Lego store in Potomac Mills. We took them to the one at Walt Disney World. Didn't have the same excited reaction)

www.ayewonder.com said...

Lou, that's a pretty cool thing to do. Don't tell anyone and then just go! Very cool.

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

You kept your kids guessing the whole time. I love it! Surprises are so fun.

Eve Grey said...

Wonderful snapshot of time gone by.