Monday morning, we got our boys out of bed midst grumbles and complaints and told them we needed to run errands. We tossed them in the van and headed towards Syracuse. After that hour-and-a-half drive, they were restless, and ready to get out of the car. Then we “took a phone call” and vaguely said that what we needed in Syracuse wasn’t available; we needed to go to Buffalo.
Thank God for DVD players, the kids lost themselves in Lord of the Rings (because my dorkiness is hereditary), and barely noticed as we exited off I-90. The bridges were their first clue that maybe something was off. We crossed over the rivers and skipped through the towns, but when they saw this view through the car window , they realized that we were not just running errands.
Wait…. is that? Why yes it is! Niagara Falls, baby! So this is where we get all evil… and fib. Why yes, boys, we just brought you into Canada because we thought it was a great place to have some lunch! Well, in our defense, we did take them to lunch. Hungry boys kind of go all Lord of the Flies on you, and then all bets are off. So after lunch, we start driving, and pull up at…
Great Wolf Lodge!!! Because we’re deviant parents, we told them, “huh, this looks like a good place to spend the night. After all, a four-hour drive home doesn’t sound like fun.” What I love about our boys is that they knew exactly what Great Wolf was, a giant indoor water-park, but since they hadn’t brought their suits (since we were only running errands), they were genuinely happy to just be there. Even when we teased them as we were checking in that we’d find something to do around there, they melted my heart with their excitement. But then, as we brought them into our little suite (which had a CABIN in it for the kids, how cool is THAT?), we broke the truth to them. We’d been planning this for a month; welcome to Spring Break Pre-Deployment vacation.
The squeals are something I’ll remember the rest of my life.
Oh, and they were relieved that we not only packed their swimsuits, but their favorite blankets as well. In the words of Aidan, “So you knew we’d end up staying here?” I love them.
In a nut-shell, we spent 3 whole days playing with our kids.
We went down every waterslide.
We stayed up late and went to story-time in pajamas.
We bought them MagiQuest wands and spent hours racing up down hallways and stairs as our little Magi went on super-fun scavenger hunts.
Picking out their wands
Leading Chase down to the next object
Brodykins LOVED lighting up the runes!
Aaron and Aidan running off on their own.
We threw our normally rigid schedule out the window and closed down the waterpark and then headed back out to do another wand-toting quest in their pajamas. At 9 PM, they were all:
And by 9:10 P.M., this is what I found:
They were knocked out.
For three days, we abducted our kids to Canada. For three days we played, hugged, slid, and played hide and seek. For three days I watched the boys hug one another, cheer one another on, and love each other.
For three days, we ignored this impending deployment.
We’re close now to D-day. So close that I can’t bear to think about it. So close that the panic walks right in, slips through my defenses and sits down uninvited on my chest. But, for these three days, we focused on our family and creating the memories that will keep us together across the distance.
He’ll be gone before the milk in the refrigerator goes bad, but I won’t forget the laughter of these boys and the smiles with their daddy.
It was incredible and worth it.