The Surprise!

For the past five years I have travelled back and forth from Louisville KY to Manchester England, spent many months away from my family, spent days away from my friends, but making the most of both of worlds as I went. Balance is something that can be very tricky, you're in one place and you miss the other, you want to be with friends but you miss your family, it takes some getting used to and I don't think there's ever a complete feeling of contentment but more the feeling of being grateful and reminding yourself that you are blessed. After getting married, the months away from home grew longer and I had to grow accustomed to the idea that I wouldn't be making the trip home as often. Money, jobs, building a life here meant that it was not always logical or possible. However, after feeling inspired when my friend Negin, flew half way around the world from Australia to KY to surprise her boyfriend, and me and my sister in the process, and having Mum's words in my head, being that she often looks out the window in the kitchen and imagines us just knocking on the back door, my sister, Kelly, and I thought it was about time we made Mum's little day dream a reality. 6 weeks ago we booked flights home and didn't tell anyone. We thought it would be random enough having just been in March, and we set out on our mission to keep it from our usually very perceptive, can't get anything past them, family.
Usually when we go home, there's a lot to do, many people to catch up with and appointments of every kind, from dentist to doctors, to book in. As much as I love all this (and I whole heartedly do), I just wanted to pop in and have a cup of tea with my Mum, coffee with my Nanna and Grandad and have a bit of a sing a long with my younger sister while catching up with my Dad and brother, with no worries and no other place to be. I just wanted to be home. :)

Over the course of the past 6 weeks, Kelly and I were paranoid and could have sworn our family had cottoned on to our master plan. Sometimes on the phone we would let slip and say "when we come home." Kelly nearly let on that she had packed her bags and we still hadn't got round to sending our sister a parcel that we had been telling her for weeks was on its way. In addition, our Mum had been telling us that she hadn't managed to send parcels she had for us, and we thought she was binding her time and waiting! :p

Our departure date arrived and we were excited but nervous as to if our plan would be a success. Our flight was delayed 3 hours and by this point Kelly and I couldn't help but laugh, as we knew there was a rather big chance that no one would be home, hmmm! :p Still, we got the taxi man to park at the top of our road so that no one would see us and, as though we had the intersect, we carefully and skillfully picked up our heavy bags and snuck into our back garden. Alas, we needn't have been so cautious as we were right and no one was home! :p  An hour we waited, till finally we decided to walk over to our Nanna and Grandad's. Again, almost cat like, we hid behind trees, brisk walked and ran as fast as lightening, due to fearing our Mum would be driving home from somewhere and spot us.

Now I have to say, we knew that if this surprise was to go without a hitch, that it would mean a lot to our family, but it didn't quite hit us just how much until we rang the doorbell and it was sprung into action. With us half expecting everyone to say "we knew it" or smile like they had been waiting, seeing our Mum look confused, then stop still and burst into tears, was incredibly touching. With Mum crying, Nanna hugging us tight repeating "Help me" as she didn't quite know what to do with herself, and Grandad taking a second to recognize us before his eyes got emotional and he said "You must be joking" I can safely say phase one was a great success. But we had a few more people to surprise and the next one... the next one was going to be good. :p

I miss my younger sister, Jenny, every day! Finding that balance and believing it's ok to move away from home and build your own little family unit, is sometimes made more difficult when feeling like I'm missing being there for her as her big sister. In addition, she is just awesome and brightens up my days. :) Jen currently works at my Auntie's jewelry shop and was busy at work when we arrived, but we weren't about to wait till she finished. We hid behind the door till our Mum gave us the all clear, to do this Mum shouted "Jen" from the door in front of all the customers and with a meeting in progress, our Auntie was not amused and pretty confused as to what was wrong with her. When Jen walked out from the back of the shop we jumped out and said surprise. I will admit that I think I was more shocked when instead of there being jumping and shouting with glee and many an embrace, she fell to the floor and proceeded to cry for 15 minutes. She couldn't comprehend that Kelly was in front of her and not in DC with her husband, we had managed to keep it a secret that she had flown back from VA on Sunday, (we arrived Tuesday morning) or quite believe that the reason I hadn't voxered much that day was because I was on a plane and now physically by her side. Yep...I sure do love my little sister. Oscar winner right there! :p

Our Dad was just as surprised in the evening when he opened his Father's Day card from us, that had finally arrived, to which I had written 'sorry we're late' to que, running down the stairs! :) Our brother was on a course for Uni, so we would have to wait another 4 days to surprise him!

Phase 2 and 3 accomplished and most definitely successful! :)

Honestly, I can't quite express how much this whole adventure meant to me, I know I write a lot about my family and how much I love them but I don't feel like I have truly found the right words to convey how deep and strong that love is. They are my absolute everything and to know that you are loved just a much in return is something so very beautiful and magical and that I don't ever wish to take for granted!

It continued to be an emotional day and week when my Nanna had to go into hospital. It seemed that the timing of our trip was meant to be, with my Grandad unable to stay on his own, having two extra people to help and be there for him while everyone worked and Mum ran around doing jobs and looking after Nanna, was, in Mum's words, "a God's send". I had planned on spending lots of time with my Nanna and Grandad and due to the circumstances, that ended up being the case. I say it like that because, although I do spend a lot of time with them and have lunch with them most days when home, I feel that sometimes there can be other things on your mind, or you need to be somewhere, or you are thinking of the next thing you have to do and you think an hour or so with them is enough. Well this time it was a case of going to Grandad's at 8:30 am and staying till 9:30 at night. He was top priority and it forced me to sit and really value and treasure each second of each day with him. I didn't have any place to be but with him and I didn't want to think about anything other than making him happy and comfortable. I listened to stories, cooked with him, watched TV with him, wrote down recipes, picked cherries and thoroughly loved his company. It's amazing when you stop and focus on what is happening right now and in front of you. I felt like I was getting to know all his quirks and simply take in all that he is and has been to me over the years. He is an incredible and unique individual who I am beyond proud to call my Grandad! :)

My Nanna is just as amazing, for someone that wasn't supposed to live past 3 years old, she is one unbelievably strong women. She always makes me smile and sees the positive in everything. She never fails to tell me to "Be Happy" and gives the best advice. Seeing her be at peace with things around her and be grateful for all that she has got to experience truly was inspiring! I love her with all my heart!

Nanna came home after 7 days in hospital, we had extended our stay so she would be at home when we said bye as we couldn't bare to leave her in hospital and I'm more than grateful that we actually got to do this. The rest of the week was spent with family, cooking, eating, talking, chatting over coffee and watching Italian TV as well as the World Cup. :) We got to watch the odd movie with Jen and hang out with our brother and really be at home! As our visit came to and end on Friday morning, I felt ok, I was excited to see my husband upon returning to KY and my heart was bursting with love and happiness of the past two weeks. :)

In conclusion, the moral to my long ramblings this lovely Sunday morning, is, every now and again take the time to really stop and look around you and think about all that you have and are blessed with. Don't just say you love people but show it, act on it! Put other people's happiness before your own and in turn you will find the true things that make yourself happy. No matter what is going on in life, be sure to make your family the number one priority. And like my Nanna always tells me "Be happy!" "Not to worry!" and "Laugh, enjoy it! " :)

Love Lulu. xx

2 comments :

  1. I am glad the "English cupcakes" had a great surprise visit back home. I hope you & Kelly continue doing great things "post-wrestling".

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  2. Aww thank you so much Brian and thank you for checking out my blog! :) Hope you're well! xx

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