Lindsay and Paige were going to surprise Eva for her 18th birthday while she was vacationing with her family in Greece! A once-lifetime experience for this posse of girlfriends.
But there were Olympic-sized hurdles to clear. God of travel, I need your help.
Hurdle #1 — Keeping the secret. This was not Lindsay’s strong suit. If she had been a spy during WWII, we would all be speaking German now. It was daunting to think how these teenage girls would avoid the subjects of Greece, Greek yogurt, Greek gods and rushing Greek life for the agonizing month before Eva and her family would go ahead of them.
We, the parents, giggled, rolled our eyes and agreed that, before their toes tickled the white sands, the surprise would be washed out to sea.
Hurdle #2 — A passport. During the pandemic, we renewed our passports, prompted by my motto that “You can buy a ticket, but you can’t travel without a passport.”
Without a trip on the horizon, I didn’t expedite them. Now, Lindsay’s passport arrival date was five days before her departure date. That was cutting it close, prolonged further because of a missing signature. I overnighted the necessary certificates with a large note in red, “I NEED HER PASSPORT BY JULY 1, PLEASE!” Her passport arrived on June 30th.
Hurdle #3 — Paige’s University instated a mandatory 2-week Covid Quarantine. Paige was out. Suddenly, Lindsay would travel alone. This time last year, I was nervous putting her on a plane to Milwaukee with a layover in Las Vegas. Little did I know that was a dry run. Now she was going to Athens with a layover in Amsterdam.
At gatherings, someone would ask, “When does Lindsay leave for Greece?” This surprise was already spoiling like an old fishtail.
Hurdle #4 — She was off. God of travel, don’t let her get kidnapped. Once she reached Athens, I got a teary call, “Mom! I can’t find the plane to the island. It leaves in 30 minutes. No one speaks English, and a Greek man yelled at me.”
“That won’t be the last time,” I said, staying on the phone until she boarded.
Hurdle #5 — Nick picked her up from the airport. Who was this guy? Follow UBER rules. Nick, with a “Lindsay” sign, escorted her to their house.
“Surprise!” Lindsay shouted at awaiting Eva! She had made it to Greece, with the secret intact.
“Not really,” Eva said.
“I tried everything to get everyone to stop whispering about it! First, a friend with, ‘When are your friends coming?’ Then I saw the Get Lindsay to Greece group chat on Mom’s phone. Ugh, adults can’t keep it a secret!”
It didn’t matter. The big ah-ha moment lasted all week with one wonderful memory after another: the beaches, the food, dancing, sightseeing.
Hurdle #6 – Lindsay’s ticket was on KLM, Eva’s family was flying Air France. Despite the odds, I got her ticket changed. They flew home together via Air France.
We cleared the finish line and received our gold medal.
Lindsay confessed, “I did get sick once when I drank an iced tea.”
I shook my head, “Who knows what herbs they put in Greek teas?”
“I think it originated in Long Island.”
I put my baby on that plane, and a young woman got herself to Greece.
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