Okay, so I’m about to bore you with a long description of my happy weekend. If you don’t like as many details as your Aunty Mable shares (even when she’s just telling you she’s bought a loaf of bread yesterday) then skip this post.
At the other end of the fortnight, was my husband’s graduation from a work-sponsored uni course. His work was very kindly putting on a black-tie dinner at a fancy-smanchy hotel in the city. They were also paying for a room for the night.
It’s been 10 years since we’ve had a night on our own without children.
Did I mention 10 years?
I was just a tad excited.
Of course, before this wonderful treat could be enjoyed, there were serious logistics to be sorted. Firstly, what to do with the wonderful children? We did think about just leaving the dog in charge at home (she’s really very trustworthy) but apparently that’s not okay (who knew?) so we opted for some responsible adults instead. Cue the very kind brother and sister-in-law who agreed to have six kids for a night instead of their usual three.
That was terrific but as they live two hours away it meant leaving work early, driving two hours to drop the kids off and then driving an hour and a half back to the city leaving just enough time to dash up to the room and get ready for dinner.
The hotel was gorgeous. I have never seen such a place in my life. Marble fountains. I kid you not. I think there were three of them. And they somehow pipe the smell of gardenias through the air on every floor. Even the doors to the lift were so beautiful I got teary. Ladies and gentlemen, I have never felt like such a hick in all my born days!
By the time I’d been lost in awe at my surroundings and then struggled into an evening gown, I was shaking like a leaf. My husband had already gone up to the reception for group photos and so I texted him to come back down and collect me as I was too nervous to negotiate the corridors by myself.
It was a lovely dinner. And I was ridiculously proud of my husband as he got his certificate. We did not indulge in the dance floor. Neither of us are much for dancing (except when I’m spring cleaning with my youtube 80s dance mix on…. don’t go judging me now) and besides my shoes were only just bearable for walking let alone tripping the light fantastic.
We made a discreet exit at about a quarter to 11 and headed back up to our suite. The turn-down service had been in and there were slippers beside my bed. Ahhhhhh. And pillows like giant marshmallows. So very many pillows.....
Ten years of child-rearing changes you though. No sleeping in for me. Like an alarm clock, I woke at 7 am exactly and there was nothing for it but to have a cup of tea.
Breakfast was a buffet downstairs. Again, I was overwhelmed with the loveliness of it all. They had everything – everything – anyone could possible want for breakfast. A chef cooked my poached egg in front of me and then another chef flipped my flapjacks while I waited. So delightful.
We sat down to enjoy our breakfast and I casually noticed the table near us was occupied by three grown sisters who were soon joined by their mother and father. I decided (because one must have a back-story for the people you are next to when you are eating breakfast) that they were probably in town to shop for one of the girls’ weddings. They seemed nice.
I didn’t think much more about them until a little later when the murmur of their conversation made my ears prick up. It was the lilt of someone reading. I turned and saw the father had open a copy of “Daily Light” and was reading them their morning devotions. And then they discretely prayed. Even the glamour of our surroundings did not stop them from spending time together with God and his word.
As my friend Lill said when I told her the story later, “Ah. You were amongst family!” Yep. I suddenly felt at home.
Slowly we did return to real life and pack up our little belongings and head downstairs to check out. As we waited for the valet to bring our car, I was just brimming over with the delights of it all. I’m not usually a person who likes frills and fusses. But this was a little slice of loveliness that I will turn over and over in my mind for quite a while.
So here’s a selfie to prove it all really happened and I didn’t just imagine it all.