I am a birthday person. I anticipate each birthday the way a child anticipates each Christmas. I thought that as I aged, the exuberance of birthdays might wane as the gray hairs increased. But it hasn't yet. Maybe I'm not gray enough yet! I did not come by this idiosyncrasy on my own. It was bred into me by a family that celebrates not only birthdays, but birthday weeks which extend for usually at least ten days. (I could explain the math to you, but it would make your head hurt!) My father used to kick off my birthday week by giving me change to equal my age (e.g., age 12 would earn 12 cents). During the course of the week, this monetary gift would work itself into dollars (e.g., age 12 would earn $12). I loved the game. So did my piggy bank.
When my husband David entered my world, he had a dizzying amount of information to learn about me and my family's tradition, especially birthdays. In the beginning he thought a ten day birthday "week" was just insane, but came to embrace the ritual and now goes above and beyond by presenting me with a birthday "month" gift on the first day of August. I love him.
Especially important to note is that I have had a secret desire for a surprise birthday party for YEARS! I have thrown them for dozens of other people as a hint that I really like surprise parties, but no one ever picked up on it. What did they think - I was throwing them because I wanted to! Haha...just kidding. Kind of. Every year, David would ask me what I wanted for my birthday and I always mentioned that I really wanted a surprise party. The past five birthdays have come and gone with no surprise parties.
My birthday week this year met all the criteria for a spectacular event. David presented me with the new Jewel album for my birthday "month" gift. We began celebrating on the 14th with a trip to Red Robins to cash in my free birthday burger coupon. And Marble Slab for some free birthday ice cream. (Yes, I join all kinds of clubs right before my birthday to reap the benefits of free stuff). We continued the celebration on my birthday (Monday, August 16th) at The Mad Platter for some lunch at which time David handed me a mystery card that instructed me to pack my bags. We were going on a trip over the weekend and I wasn't allowed to ask any questions. Hmmm...could this be the surprise party of which I'd dreamed?
I managed to deduce, with David's help, that we would be taking a road trip to Memphis to return our niece Olivia to my sister and brother-in-law. But try as I might, David would release no other information. We made it to Memphis on Saturday afternoon and no hint of my party...yet. There was a long debate about where to go for dinner. Strange...if there was a party involved, wouldn't they already know where dinner was going to be. After all that's where everyone would need to be to leap out and shout "surprise" while throwing confetti and taking pictures of my astonished look. I thought, "Well, maybe Mary and David will call everyone after we decide and they will meet at the restaurant. How cool that everyone is just on standby waiting for the call!" We got to the restaurant, a sushi joint over by the Macon Starbucks, but there were no friends leaping out shouting surprise, no noisemakers, no confetti, no cake setting off fire alarms with a gross number of candles. Oh well. No party this year. Something to look forward to next year. We had a lovely dinner. My first sushi since Sofia was born.
Mary suggested that we rent a movie and crash at the Cranfords' house, where David, Sofia, and I would be spending the night. She made a big fuss over hoping that the Cranfords wouldn't mind her family showing up unannounced. But the ability to put on pre-pajamas and lounge around was so appealing. David took the long way as usual, so Mike and Mary beat us there. David grabbed the bebe and I filled my arms with luggage. It's amazing how much extra luggage one tiny child adds to a weekend getaway! We walked in the front door and....SURPRISE! There was my party! All of my dearest Memphis friends gathered in the Cranfords' dining room. There was confetti and noise makers and crazy bird streamers and cake with ribbons and little pinwheels in cheese and very good wine and lots of yelling and laughing and playing Rock Band.
I love my friends. I love my sister. And most of all, I love my dear sweet husband who finally realized that all I wanted for my birthday was a surprise party.