For example, his love language is the giving of gifts. And he's pretty good at it. But, mine isn't. Gifts that I appreciate most are not actually tangible things, but experiences. I love surprises. And I love experiences that are lovely and enriching and that I can think about for years to come. A great memory is like an eternal gift to me. I love gifts that I don't so much hold in my hands, but rather hold in my heart.
This past week my husband gave me the gift of a little adventure--an experience. A childhood dream come true. I think my soul will be relishing it for a long time.
A while back I happened to mention in passing that as a child I'd always wanted to walk across the Golden Gate bridge. Somehow, even though I'd driven across it many times, I'd never walked across it. As a child it just seemed so cool. It's a silly childhood fantasy.
I never gave it another thought after that conversation. I thought, "Oh well. Someday." And then promptly put it out of my mind. Fast forward to this past week.
I was up on the Central Coast with my kids who were taking the standardized state tests with our private school. We stayed with Papa and Nana; Gana stayed home to work. I was due to drive home on Friday morning. On Thursday night, quite late, Gana inexplicably showed up at my parents' house! I just sort of stared at him, in disbelief. I think I said something beautiful like, "Why are you here????"
He said he was there to fulfill a dream for me. We were headed to San Francisco! What?!
I then continued to say lovely things like, "But, I didn't pack for San Francisco!" No worries. He had brought a couple of my cutest maternity dresses, my walking shoes, my heavy coat and even remembered some scarves to cover my hair in the wind! He had made arrangements for my parents to watch the children, so we could have a romantic getaway before the baby arrives this summer!! Everyone seemed to be in on the scheme, except me! No one had let me in on the secret at all!
It gets better.
He rented a car--a red convertible!!!! He planned for us to drive up Highway 1 with the top down! He booked an incredible bed-and-breakfast at a historic site on the Sausalito side of the Golden Gate. And we were going to walk across the Golden Gate!
So we left early on Friday morning. Set off up the coast, taking in the ocean breezes. We stopped for breakfast in Cayucos and then at one of favorite places--the New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur. We listened to the monks chant and arrived at just the right time for part of Mass. Mostly we took in the views and breathed it all in. (One day--when I don't have a nursing baby--I will go there on a silent retreat.)
|Big window on the balcony of the chapel, overlooking the Pacific|
Then we stopped in Monterey--where we had spent part of our honeymoon. We walked on Fisherman's Warf and ate some fish-n-chips.
We got to the Golden Gate in the evening. We checked into our room--which was just the most lovely place you can imagine. And I laced up my walking shoes. Dream come true in just moments!
|Ta-da!!! I'm here!!!|
|In the background you can see the historic Coast Guard site where we stayed.|
|Saw all these people running on the bridge and didn't want to stand out or anything.|
|Mr. Sandman....bringing me good dreams come true since 1999.|
Supposedly, according to some over-achieving website, the walk is supposed to take 30 minutes round trip. Well, it took this pregnant lady and her photo-happy escort about 1.5 hours. So, by the time we were done I was HUNGRY! So, we ordered food to our room from the lodge's restaurant. This is the perfect way to end a perfect day:
|Eating on the king sized bed in front of the fire.|
|Roasted Bone Marrow. I would eat it every day if I could.|
|The fire, the wine and the marrow!|
The next day we played tourist. We drove down Lombard Street. In our red Mustang convertible and looking very Californian, we are now in more than one Japanese tourist's scrapbook. Felt like we were a little bit celebrity.
Then we walked and played on Fisherman's Warf and ended our day with an awesome (although very chilly) cruise and tour of Alcatraz.
|Antique arcade games are fantastic.|
|Test your strength! Gana rang the bell!|
|Daja the Riveter|
|Solitary Confinement. Eek.|
|At the end of the tour there is an art exhibit about restorative justice, featuring the stories of six murderers who have been rehabilitated and paroled. Then people respond to the exhibit on post-it notes.|
It was a truly amazing two days. Really a dream come true. What blessed me more than anything was knowing that Gana had listened to the little girl inside the woman who still wanted to have this experience. He not only heard it, he crafted the perfect experience. He demonstrated his love so creatively, so uniquely and so perfectly for me that occasionally, still, I'll burst out laughing, unable to believe it.
On the way home I plugged in the ipod and played Donna Fargo's The Happiest Girl In The Whole U.S.A.
(Thank you to my parents, too, who watch the kids and helped arrange a great surprise!)