The first thing Nina said this morning when she woke up was, "Mama...are we going on the plane
now?" The excitement in her voice and the enthusiasm in her eyes were scrumptious! I was so glad the idea of flying into LAX had popped into my head. For the longest time Nina has been looking forward to a Mommy-and-Me plane trip. In fact, we originally had one planned for Boston this coming January during the Martin Luther King holiday. This trip would be just the correct length of time and the Marbans had planned an extraordinary weekend for us! How blessed we are to have them in our lives!!
I explained to Nina that we had a few things to do before our trip and that we would leave after dinner. She moaned with disappointment. I love how kids want things to happen right then and there! The reality is that we all operate that way...we've just learned that it's not socially appropriate to moan when we don't get our way immediately (at least some of us have learned this adaptive skill). Before long, Larisa arrived to hang out with Nina. When Nina saw Larisa she said, "Awww...can't Mario babysit?" Larisa and I burst into laughter. I guess our theory was true! Nina Fredeen!!! Larisa is such a good friend, the most precious of friends. She sat down next to Nina and stroked her hair while saying, "I can't blame you....we'd all prefer Mario to babysit." Nina's cheeks actually flushed pink! It was the sweetest thing ever!!
Larisa and Nina proceeded to play Wii. Nina is an incredible Wii player; totally competitive but equally skilled. I went to my meetings. All in all, despite being incredibly worried, all my meetings went well. For the majority of my adult life I have made most of my decisions out of fear. Fear has pretty much dominated my life in one capacity or another. My Fear Warden is not one about being afraid to try things, work hard, take on responsibilities. My Fear Warden is about disappointing people. I have a terrible fear about disappointing others and I am now realizing that for the most part these fears are completely inappropriate and misplaced. I have spent the majority of my life trying to work harder, do more, be smarter, be more patient, all in the hope that I could earn love and appreciation. However, this nightmare with Nina has forced me to wake up and realize that it does not matter how hard I work, how much I take on, how long I am patient for, if people don't love and appreciate me, there is nothing I can do to earn that! It is not me....it is them!! Sometimes, you need to be knocked down completely before you realize what has been holding you captive and what is truly a blessing in life.
When I returned, I found Larisa and Nina still playing Wii. Larisa laughed as she explained how ruthless Nina was and how she'd practically won every game. Nina smugly smiled! Ohh, how I love that girl! While Larisa played one last game with Nina, I secretly put together Nina's snack container for the plane trip. Above all else, what Nina was looking most forward to about the plane ride was pulling down her tray and getting a platter of snacks to eat :) Unfortunately, the flight from SB to LAX did not offer snacks but I knew I could convince the stewardess to help me out. Who wouldn't want to bring a smile out our honey-girl? So...I packed up a cute pink box with a juice container, crackers, cheetos, string-cheese, etc. I knew she'd get a kick out of this and I couldn't wait to see her smile.
We hugged Larisa good bye and thanked her for all her help. We finished packing and then enjoyed dinner with Teddy and Dada. Nina was so excited she could barely concentrate on eating, which rarely ever happens. Then it was time to leave. I grabbed our suitcases and went to help Nina put her socks on but she was no longer in the living room...she had actually already climbed into the car! The entire car ride to the airport (all 10 minutes) Nina beamed. Teddy told her all about the cool things about going on a plane, and explained in his best "big brother" voice, how important it was to tighten the lap belt (only our Teddy would do this!). We pulled up to the terminal and Todd unloaded our suitcases. We hugged the boys goodbye and were off on our adventure!
As we walked to the terminal, I noticed Nina lingering behind. I looked back and saw that she was crying. I knelt beside her and asked what was wrong. She wiped her precious tears and told me she was scared to go on the plane and that she was going to miss Dada and Teddy. We sat on the bench beside us and I just rubbed her sweet back, explaining what would happen on the plane ride. We talked about how of course we would miss Dada and Teddy but that we would see them soon and would talk to them on the phone whenever she wanted to. Before long, she was ready to go in.
Who knew that going thru the terminal security was exciting, but with Nina it was! New adventures and experiences with our kids was always exciting. Each of their new experiences was a joy to go through with them; seeing the expression on their sweet faces, getting to relive things, such a pleasure, such a gift! Once we were thru security, we didn't have long to wait. We sat down and then......I realized we had forgotten the stroller!!! Yikes!! I called Todd and asked him to bring it to us. Luckily we don't live very far so he was able to get it to me in a jiff, just as the flight attendant announced that it was time board!
We boarded the plane and buckled in. To say that Nina was excited, happy, elated, thrilled...simply does not do it justice! She was in stitches. She couldn't stop smiling. She looked out the plane, attentively listen to the flight attendant, looked around, everything was perfect for her. As Nina was distracted with watching the crew outside load the luggage, I sneakily asked the flight attendant if she could lend me a helping hand and pretend she was passing out snacks to everyone and give Nina her special pink snack container. The flight attendant, a bubbly blond from Clovis with beautiful blue eyes named Brittany, smiled and agreed! Yahoo!!!
As the plane started to move forward, I held Nina's hand. She was so happy, so excited! When we actually took off and were in the air, her little mouth dropped! She asked me how it was possible for us to be in the sky...dang it...kids always ask complicated questions :) I explained that it was magic....no...I didn't! I gave her the simplest of explanations but she lost interest and instead looked out the window and pointed out the ocean and the hills :) That's my girl!
After the captain announced we could walk around in the cabin, I told Nina she could pull down her tray. I might as well have told her that Santa Claus was going to live with us forever....she was wildly happy!! She proudly pulled down her tray just as the flight attendant came by with her snack container.
Brittany played her part perfectly and Nina happily accepted the snacks. When she opened the container, it was as if she'd been given the greatest treasure on earth...as if she had never seen crackers, cheetos, apple juice, or string cheese. I couldn't help but beam myself!! I was helping my honey-girl's dreams come true and there was no other greater feeling!
Our 20 minute flight was perfect...of course, 5 minutes before the captain announced to be sure to be buckled for landing, Nina turned to me and asked, "When are we going to get there?"
We arrived and were greeted by the most darling limo driver. The Marbans had arranged for us to have a chauffeur drive us to the Four Seasons. What a treat! They just spoil us! As we drove through classic LA traffic, Eduardo texted me saying: I'll be here waiting at 4S. See you soon! I texted back asking if 4S was our room number to which Eduardo replied No silly...it's the Four Seasons. I'll wait for you at the front entrance. I could just hear his laugh!
|In the limo!|
When we pulled up at the Four Seasons (4S), both Nina and I were speechless. We hugged Eduardo hello, were greeted by the hotel manager (fancy-fancy...we are VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE...hee-hee!) and then went up to our suite! Holy Smoke!! Our suite was spectacular. Nina was blown-away! She even called me into the bathroom twice to show me the shower and the tv! The living room was covered in treats: fruit, crackers, and a cookie decorating tray from our friends Mendy and Damien. Eduardo helped us prepare for room service then was off to their back-to-school party. Nina and I spent the rest of the evening hanging out in the absolute coolest hotel ever! We had room service and watched Nanny McPhee 2 in bed!! Nina's favorite part of the movie was when the piggies danced; I was fond of the annoying city-cousin and would periodically turn to Nina and speak like him (in an awful English accent) making her crack up. No better sound in the world!
Nina has ALWAYS loved hotels and this hotel was the poshest, coolest, most amazing treat ever!! Thank you Marbans for making our Nina's dream come true!!! What an incredible start to the best ever Mommy-and-Daughter weekend get-away!!