For months, my kids knew that I was going to New York City at the end of May. Almost every day last week, leading up to my departure, we talked about how I would be leaving the house before they woke up on Friday, and that I would be home after they went to bed on Sunday.
My youngest daughter, Lainey, even asked me on Thursday, as I tucked her in bed, how many nights I would be gone.
"Three," was my answer.
"How much is 45 times three?" she then asked.
My answer was 135.
"Then you have to snuggle with me right now for 135 seconds."
"But I usually give you a 30-second snuggle each night. Why 45 seconds?" It was my turn to ask a question.
"Interest," was her answer.
On Friday, my friend, Stuart, and I arrived at our hotel shortly after 4 pm. We were just unpacking our things and I decided to take a photo of the view, which I posted as an Instagram image. Here is the shot.
Just as I tapped Send, my phone rang. It was from home, and it was Lainey.
"Dad, on your way home, can you stop at Toys On Fire and pick up a gift for my friend's birthday?"
"I'm in New York," I said.
"And can you also stop at Indigo and get her a gift certificate?"
"Lainey, I'm in New York City."
"Maybe a card to put the gift certificate in?"
"Lainey... Lainey... LAINEY!" The chatter went on until I raised my voice to cut through. "I can't pick up the gift or the card. I'm in New... York... City."
"WHAT?? You never told me that you were going to New York City. Okay, goodbye." And with that, she hung up.
When I returned home on Sunday, there was a card waiting for me. The handwriting was distinctly Lainey's.
Everyone, now: 1... 2... 3... AWWWWW!
New York was a blast, but the welcome home (despite the kids being asleep) was totally worth it.