A few weeks before Thanksgiving, I said to Coach: I HAVE AN IDEA FOR WHAT TO DO FOR CHRISTMAS.
Me: WHAT? I HAVEN'T EVEN TOLD YOU YET.
Coach: (visibly cringing) OK, GO AHEAD.
Me: SINCE ED IS STUDYING IN BUDAPEST NEXT SEMESTER, WHAT IF WE BUY PLANE TICKETS FOR CHRISTMAS? THEN I DON'T HAVE TO DO ANY REAL SHOPPING AND THE OVERFLOWING CLOSETS WON'T EXPLODE.
Coach: HMMM. (long pause - this is often how he converses, lag time. It's his communication style. Irritating at times, but not as irritating as a forgotten alarm *this is foreshadowing of tomorrow's post*). I KIND OF LIKE THAT IDEA. ONE OF MY PATIENTS TOLD ME THAT BUDAPEST IS REFERRED TO AS THE PARIS OF THE EAST. I'D KINDA LIKE TO GO.
Me: TANK WOULD HAVE TO GO SOLO DURING HIS SPRING BREAK, BECAUSE IT DOESN'T ALIGN WITH THE OTHER KIDS' BREAK. YOU AND I AND THE 3 YOUNGEST COULD GO OVER THEIR SPRING BREAK.WOULD LAD HAVE A BUDDY TO GO WITH HIM?
This was something of a miracle. Coach and I on the same page. We liked the idea of gifting the kids an experience vs stuff.
I have no photos to accompany this post, so please enjoy this 4 second video of the girls and I eating cold, very small helpings of Thanksgiving leftovers. I thought we'd be home in time for more dinner, this was to hold us over - silly me, we got home at 11 pm. Other competitions were finishing up in the background.
I'd already run the idea past Ed. I assured him that we'd visit but we wouldn't expect to spend every moment with him, he'd have classes. He seemed most pumped about having Tank, Mr. Good Time Charlie, visit. Shock.
Over Thanksgiving, Ed and I searched for flights. Ziggy, the guy who did our siding, is from Poland. He texted me suggesting a good site for finding international airfare: FEARYBOO. Huh? Thanks, autocorrect. The actual site was fareboom. Ed booked his flight after much back and forth and debating over times and layovers, etc.
Fun fact (a jog back in time): Ed was torn about whether or not to study abroad.
Ed: BUT I MISSED A BIG CHUNK OF MY COLLEGE DAYS ON CAMPUS. I DON'T KNOW IF I WANT TO LEAVE. MY 18 CLOSEST FRIENDS WILL BE HERE IN THE FRATERNITY.
Me: YEP, AND THOSE FRIENDS WILL BE HERE WHEN YOU GET BACK. YOU'VE BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. I SAY TRY SOMETHING NEW.
He worried that the program would limit student travel and he didn't want to go and not travel around. We assured him any traveling would be amazing. Just before he came home at Thanksgiving when he was still on the fence, he called me and moaned: LISTEN TO THIS EMAIL. He'd been given a $3,000 scholarship towards his study abroad plan.
Me: THE UNIVERSE IS SPEAKING TO YOU.
I took a step back, this is hard for me, and let him make his decision. A few weeks later, he decided to go for it. He also got more scholarship money for next semester, which is awesome.
ENTER CONUNDRUM CITY.
BECAUSE NOTHING IS EVER SIMPLE (not in chronological order, #1 came up recently but it's the most important):
1. The college announced AFTER ED GOT BACK TO SCHOOL AFTER THANKSGIVING that they will decide on Dec. 17th whether or not they are going to cancel travel abroad programs. So? Not buying tickets for everyone for Christmas, then? With the latest variant, is the universe speaking to us?
2. Reggie got invited to play basketball by an Under Armor sponsored team in our area that plays around the country showcasing its players for NCAA recruiters. He's out of his mind excited. They start practicing over spring break. So? No Budapest then? He could miss the few days over spring break this year, because he's a sophomore. Next year would be more crucial. Still, something to consider.
Oh, and let's consider how this team might impact the July Yellowstone trip. Reg's new exciting opportunity plays for 3 weeks in July. Ouch.
Reg: WHY ARE WE EVEN GOING TO YELLOWSTONE? DOES ANYONE EVEN WANT TO GO?
Yellowstone has transformed into the-search-for-the-holy-grail-type trip. I might drag my people to Yellowstone, after 5 years of planning, whether they like it or not. Call me Clark Griswold. My fear? Us arriving in Yellowstone and a ranger greets us with: SORRY FOLKS, THE RANGER AT THE GATE SHOULDA TOLD YOU . . . PARK'S CLOSED.
3. Hey, let's toss the possibility of Irish dancing world championships into the Budapest decision mix. That happens in Belfast, Easter week. As of now, Curly says she's NOT going. But, what if I buy the tickets AS A CHRISTMAS SURPRISE and then she decides she wants to compete? I have no plans to do World's on my way home from Budapest. I have my limits, friends.
4. Tank arrived back at school the Sunday after Thanksgiving. He called me.
Tank: Hey, my mission trip application is due in an hour. It's a spring break trip and it's kind of pricey, like $275. I really wanna do it. They split up the volunteers between different destinations so we branch out and really soak up the experience. I really liked the one I did before the pandemic. I liked seeing how much we helped people.
My internal voice: And why did he not bring this up over break? This sounds amazing, glad he wants to do this . . . SO, DO I TELL HIM ABOUT THE POSSIBLITY OF BUDAPEST? OR DO WE JUST SEND HIM AFTER SCHOOL GETS OUT IN MAY WHILE ED IS STILL OVER THERE?
Me, kicking and screaming: BUT I DON'T WANNA DO CHRISTMAS SHOPPING.
Yesterday, Dec. 5th, was Tank's 19th birthday. I texted him: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BIGGEST BABY. *He was 10 lbs 3 oz. I was induced 3 days early.* He's been a big presence wherever he goes every since.
Would you travel to Budapest over spring break? (if Ed doesn't go then we certainly won't)
Other ideas for how to gift to my offspring without adding STUFF to our home?
Posts planned for Tues and Thursday this week. See you there.