This week was The Professor's spring break. His Uncle Stan and Aunt Vicky thoughtfully invited us to meet up with them in the cute town of Galena. We had the most wonderful time! Honestly, it was the most relaxing and refreshing vacation we'd had in YEARS. It's not very often that all the details work out so perfectly to provide you with the optimal vacationing experience. There were a few things that made this trip so great.
First of all, we had a nice, leisurely pace. Uncle Stan and Aunt Vicky, though definitely spry and vivacious, are well advanced in years. They have passed the point of pushing themselves to see\do every little thing on vacation. They were content to go out, and they were content to stay in. It worked out perfectly with the BabyGirl's nap\bedtime regimen. When it was time for her nap, we simply went back to the hotel and napped. No one was concerned about the experiences we might be missing out on. It also worked out perfectly for me, aka the pregnant lady of the group. I wasn't moving very fast; neither were Stan and Vicky. I needed to sit down every so often; so did Stan and Vicky. It was great!
Secondly, we had the most beautiful weather! It was very odd for mid-March. Usually at this time of year, you would expect snow. Instead, it was 70 degrees with blue skies! We spent every possible moment outside. Even just BEING outside was vacation in and of itself. Sitting on a bench in the sunshine was all the recreation we needed. Well, except for the BabyGirl, that is. She loves being outside, but she isn't content to just sit still on a bench. She ran her little heart out. She ran and ran and ran some more. The poor Professor had to chase her all over the place. We were visiting the home of Ulysses S. Grant (whom the GPS liked to call "Ulysses South Grant"), which had an enormous yard for the BabyGirl to run around. When it came time to leave there and head to our next event, the BabyGirl thew a fit getting into the car. Finally we told her that we were going to "Another outside," and she was okay with that. And because she played hard during the day, she also slept hard at night.
Another component of Optimal Vacation was our hotel. Uncle Stan and Aunt Vicky booked it through their timeshare deal. We had a spacious suite with a living room, kitchen, and separate bedroom. The beauty of this is that the BabyGirl didn't have to sleep in the same room with us! Praise the Lord! Sleeping in the same room as that child is disastrous. Disastrous for her, disastrous for us, disastrous for everyone in the building, and everyone on that street. For the first time in her whole little life, she slept beautifully while in a new place. It was truly a miracle.
And finally, the food. OH THE FOOD. Back when i lived in the Big City, i was totally a snob about other city's restaurants. Now i live the middle of nowhere with terrible, awful restaurants. Incidentally, Stan and Vicky are in the same situation. They have travelled the world and eaten all sorts of unique things, but now they live in a podunk town with no decent restaurants. All of us were so excited to eat good food. Thankfully, there was plenty of it! We went to a Greek steakhouse and ate, quite possibly, the best steak of our lives. If not the best, then definitely in the top 3. Each of us had to think long and hard if we'd ever had a better steak. We enjoyed it so much that we went back 2 nights later to try the lamb. Also, throughout our stay we kept to a Two Desserts Per Day Program. It was heaven! If BabyGirl#2 ends up with a sweet tooth, i think we can blame it exclusively on the amount of in utero dessert she ate on this trip.
At the end of the trip, when we were all saying our goodbyes, Stan made the comment, "Well, we had two goals for this trip, and i think we accomplished them!" The Professor and i were both confused. Goals? I don't remember discussing any goals.
He said, "The two goals were for Vicky and I to get to know the BabyGirl, and to spoil you three as much as possible."
In that case, yes, they did accomplish their goals! They paid for EVERYTHING for us. We didn't spend a dime. The steak, the lamb, the two-a-day desserts—they paid for it all. They wined-and-dined us like kings. We resorted to all sorts of trickery to attempt to pay for things, and our efforts were always thwarted. It was so generous and so loving of them. I'll always remember their kindness.
These past few months, The Professor and i have been the recipients of some truly astounding acts of generosity. I knew before, but now believe so strongly that grace is powerful. A gift like Stan and Vicky's, that was completely unmerited, and that we could never hope to repay, is so deeply moving. It inspires me all the more to live a life worthy of the calling i have received. Like Jean Valjean, to use this gift to become an honest man.
I want to be as giving as Uncle Stan and Aunt Vicky. They have their own children and their own grandchildren. They didn't have to take us on vacation; they could have very easily spent that money on a trip with their grandchildren. I don't know why the Lord put it on their hearts to spoil us, but they certainly went to it with gusto!