Neal celebrated his 38th birthday this past weekend! Months ago I started thinking of ways to celebrate him, but quickly realized that most ideas were things I’d like to do. When I really thought about it, what Neal treasured the most, was time to write.
Neal is a published author and is currently working on his 5th book! Since having our second child, it has been really hard for him to find the time to write. He writes here and there, but as most writers know, writing for 30 minutes here and there just isn’t the same as having 4 uninterrupted hours to just write.
My husband is an introvert, so aside from writing, the gift of peace is one of the greatest things I can gift him. That’s one of the reasons Neal stays up so late most nights. The hours after the kids and I go to bed are his chance to think, write, and rest while the house is quiet. While we’ve enjoyed some amazing birthday weekends over the years, I realized that the perfect birthday gift for an introverted Dad was 24 hours away.
Some of my friends thought I was crazy, but this year I sent Neal away for his birthday weekend. To write, to sleep, to go to a movie, and to just be alone. In preparation for the night away, I reserved a hotel room at the Hyatt Regency Tysons Corner, which is connected to Tysons Mall. I wanted to find him a hotel that was in the DC area, but was close to shops, restaurants, and a movie theater. I also packed him an overnight bag, bought him a ticket to a movie at Tysons, packed him drinks and snacks for him time in the hotel, and bought him a gift card to a restaurant by the hotel.
Saturday, the day before his birthday, we spent the morning at home before driving over to Tysons. Neal still had no idea what his birthday gift was, so just before lunch I asked him to pack up everything he needed to be able to write. Confused as ever, he packed up his laptop, books, and research material. We loaded up the car and drove to Virginia.
I threw quite a few white lies into my story, so he really had no idea what we were up to. As we pulled into the mall I told him I thought it be good to let Magnolia burn off a little steam before we needed to be somewhere at 1PM. As we pulled into the Hyatt’s reserved parking area, I spilled the beans! He was so shocked, surprised, and touched. Whether he’ll admit to his or not, his eyes watered a little! I think he was just so touched by the opportunity to write and for me to take on both kids and our pooch for the night.
We got Neal checked into his room and made our way upstairs to drop off his bags as a family. The room was absolutely gorgeous and I admit, I was a little jealous!
We then made our way downstairs, ran around the mall for a bit, and then grabbed lunch from Shake Shack. We took our lunch back up to the room and enjoyed lunch together before I headed back to Maryland with the kids.
Before leaving, I gave Neal his birthday cards, which contained the movie ticket, gift card, and extra cash for his stay. He was just so excited, which made my heart melt.
The time at home with the kids was pretty good, but boy did I miss Neal. That time away from him made me realize how much we rely on each other to raise our children. I am very, very thankful for him!
Sunday, Neal’s actual birthday, we picked him up from the hotel around 12:30PM and then headed over to Lost Dog for his birthday lunch. The rest of the day was pretty mellow, with a Costco trip thrown in between naps.
I was so glad the birthday gift worked out and I have a funny feeling it’s what we’ll want to gift each other each and every birthday! It was different gift, but exactly what my husband needed. 24 hours away, in a beautiful hotel, was the perfect birthday gift for an introvert!