OK, so maybe I didn't get the book deal I asked for (yet), or the talk show invites (yet, again), but I did get several heart felt hugs, at least five cups of joe and several errands done. As a matter of fact, the best gifts I received were not even on my list: all six of my guys attended late night Christmas Mass while I sang with our choir, my son picked out a hot pink protective case thingy for my laptop, and my sis got me extra bowls (so I don't have to borrow hers every time I serve chili at a party).
But my husband's gift tops the list - an overnight getaway for two.
We no sooner had all of the crumpled wrapping paper picked up when he whisked me away to a lovely little place called Serenity Springs (http://serenity-springs.com) for a some post-holiday battery-recharging.
If we hadn't gotten lost, we would've reached our destination in just under two hours. The fact that we couldn't find it only enhanced the feel that we were actually getting away.
Checking in, Debbie, the woman with whom my husband conspired to pull off this escape, pointed to a rack of wine bottles and told me to pick one.
She then pointed to a corner of the office that contained DVDs of dozens of movies. I picked two. My husband didn't balk. I was in heaven.
As we stepped out of the office, I was aghast to see that our car had been replaced by a horse-drawn carriage. No kidding. I checked to make sure my loafers hadn't magically transformed into glass slippers before stepping up into it.
Snuggled under a blanket, we were transported to our private cabin where we were filled in on the essentials, like how to work the remote and how the butler service works. I did a double take. Butler service? All we had to do was scribble a request - anything from pizza to board games to massages - pop the piece of paper in a little box affixed to the wall, flip a switch and moments later, our request would be filled.
Just like magic...
Once we were alone, I scoped the place for two essentials - a coffee pot and a blow dryer. Check.
Let the decompression begin!
Snuggled on the couch sipping our wine, we enjoyed the peace and quiet - no phones, no laptops, no kids.
The kids. I tried to not think about them, but I couldn't help it. We left our oldest in charge. He and our next oldest are Eagle scouts and our third son is almost there. What could possibly go wrong?
The mere fact that we left them alone to fend for themselves made me feel old. Where has the time gone, I wondered. Between my day job and trying to get my writing career off the ground, I have let a lot of things slip through the cracks - daily family dinners being one of them. As a result, my special needs son's table manners are, um, lacking, my cross-country runner son with the high metabolism is nearly invisible when he turns sideways and my oldest son, well, he'll be following his older brother to college in a matter of months.
Taking another swig of the lovely Red Horizon wine from Shady Creek Winery (www.shadycreekwinery.com), I announced to my husband that my resolution for 2012 will be to serve a sit-down family meal every day, no matter how crazy our schedules get.
That'll teach him to whisk me away for a romantic overnight...
Flicking on the fireplace, he warned that my feeble attempt to slow down the clock would have the opposite affect.
You can find out for yourself. I'll be covering it all here, the recipes that work and the ones that don't, the jabs that are flung and the jokes that are told, and the affect that it has on us all.
One year. 365 family dinners. Who's with me?