remember when i was having a sappy, sentimental moment about my dad? all of that was true. i only let out one little bit. when i said, "i wish i could be there" - i was trickin' you. i was going to be there. all of us were. in fact, there was never a time we weren't going to be there, pending flight cancellations that we were threatened with thursday night. as soon as my dad announced he was retiring, we all got to planning a trip home. we were all so excited. we knew we were going to knock his socks off. and boy did we ever. but i'll get to that part in a little bit.
heather arrived first, heidi & i flew in a little less than an hour later and we all headed towards the sears tower. my mom was downtown having lunch with my dad on his last day, which is kind of a funny story in and of itself and they weren't back yet, so we ran around the corner and grabbed some deep dish pizza for lunch. nothing like chicago pizza [and food, in general!] and boy did we get plenty over the weekend. i could do a whole post about the food alone. while we were at lunch, holly landed and started her trek to the sears. my mom's security got a little mixed up so my dad left her down in the lobby as we waited for that to get worked out. finally, she was up and we met holly in the lobby of the sear's tower. we had to get security passes and get through security and by the time we were getting to the elevator banks, a lady from my dad's office came down to meet us and show us where we were supposed to go. all of a sudden, my parents step off the elevator and rounded turned in the opposite direction of where we were standing or else the surprise would've happened right then and there. we all freaked out because we almost got caught. the lady, kim told us that they were headed over to the other elevator banks and that we'd be fine, so we relaxed a little.
all of a sudden, i was staring at my dad though, as they rounded the corner again. he gave me the most confused look i have ever gotten from him. heather and i were standing right there, there was no avoiding it, he walked right upon us. he later said that he recognized kim but that he didn't know who i was. the first words out of his mouth were "you're not supposed to be here." he was in shock. he just couldn't place us there. it was really quite funny. finally heather started yelling "surprise! surprise!" and we all caught on to what was happening. we definitely surprised him!
the work party was pretty amazing. big wigs from united came and talked about what a guy he is. his hard work, his dedication, his abilities, his heart & sense of humor. all things we all know, but love to hear. he got awards and presents. stories shared that we all laughed through. his boss had flowers for my mom and us girls, which was incredibly thoughtful. [she was the only person in on the secret, my mom needed her to help us with security and just to help work out the kinks of the details. she really came through on her end, too.]
after the party, we headed over to a greek restaurant with a bunch of my dad's friends who came into the city for his party. it was an adventure to get there but the food was delicious and it was nice to warm up. we eventually got on the metra and headed home.
saturday we grocery shopped and got the house ready for my mom's party on saturday night. it was a hopping party, too. lots and lots of my dad's old work friends and old family friends came. it was so much fun to visit with everyone. the food was delicious, too. it took all 6 of us to keep people greeted, coats put away and entertained - it was crazy.
sunday was our day to relax and just enjoy being together. [not that we hadn't been enjoying all along.] the girls out voted my parents and we said, "sorry but no church & we're going sinning." we had shopping and more food we wanted to enjoy. we hit woodfield and lou malnati's. it was such a fun day. i loved being with my parents and my sisters. we haven't all been together since mikey's blessing. and i don't think we've ever been just the "core" family since heidi left for college. it was a treat. we never once went to bed before midnight. it was surely not a weekend for sleep!
the only hard part of the weekend for me was leaving my boys. i hadn't left mikey before. the last few days up until i left were hard. everytime mikey was sweet or cute, i'd break down and think, "i can't leave him!" but i knew i had to. i survived with only a few minutes while i was gone where i cried. thank heavens garrett was so good to me, sending me pictures and videos of their weekend. i watched and rewatched them almost constantly. i knew all along that mikey would be fine - he'd be with his dad. i knew garrett would be fine, he's a pro. i just didn't know if i'd be fine, but i was ok.
all in all, it was an amazing weekend. i'm so glad i was able to go and be a part of my dad's last day of work. i'm so thankful for united and for the life we've had because of it. i'm excited to see what this next chapter in life brings for him - i expect him out here for a few days with us no later than march. [dad, i'm not joking about that part.] i loved getting to spend time with my parents and sisters. we definitely made memories!