I just returned from a surprise visit to Seattle to visit my daughter. I am full of “warm fuzzies” and memories from a three and a half day trip. My daughter’s adoption day was on Tuesday-the day that the adoption was formalized by the court (eight months after she was born). When she was younger the three of us would play hooky from work and school and go celebrate the day as a family. As she got older, sometimes we would just go out to dinner to celebrate…and when she moved to Seattle for work, we would send flowers or special greetings on adoption day. We had arranged this year for flowers to be delivered. And yet, I found myself gazing wistfully at the calendar a few days before the circled day. My calendar was pretty open for the next week, and my mind started thinking, “What if?”. So, I started checking flights thinking they would either be too full or too expensive this late the weekend before I might travel. The next surprise was that I could get a seat at a reasonable price. I saved the booking and mulled it over (if you know me, you know I am not a spontaneous person…I plan and plan-and plan some more). That evening when my husband came home, I broached the subject of the trip. “Well, why not go?” he asked. “What’s stopping you?” Hmmmm…..what was stopping me was me. I’m rarely spontaneous, plan trips far in advance, was not sure how a surprise visit would be received, and had difficulty justifying the expense to “pop in” for just a few days. And yet…I pulled my computer out and pressed the purchase ticket button before I could talk myself out of it.
I sent a message to a work friend of my daughter to let her know I was coming so that my daughter would be in the office, and she could help me get to her to surprise her. I packed my bag and headed to Seattle. My stomach did flip flops when I arrived and settled into the train to go downtown where she works. I delayed my arrival at her work until a meeting was over and then headed to her office. Her friend met me at the elevator and I walked toward where she was sitting with a sign that read, “Happy Adoption Day!”. Her face lit up when she saw me, even though it showed confusion, and we embraced as I told her I was her adoption day gift that year. When she asked where I was staying, I said that was the second part of the surprise-I was staying with her! She laughed graciously and hugged me again.
We spent three evenings together when she was done with work. We sloshed through the Seattle rain and went out to eat, we made cookies in her condo, but best of all, we put on our jammies and talked while her cat purred contentedly as he moved from lap to lap. We laughed, and we gossiped and shared our lives before I snuggled into my air bed mattress on the floor of her living room. The second night I was there she gave me a hug and said, “I’m so glad you came. This is so fun!” and my heart melted.
Planning has its place in my life, but I need to remember that not all the best moments in life can be arranged in advance. Maybe I should give spontaneity a try more often! For now, I am left with warm fuzzies and a smile in my heart from my visit to Seattle:)