Sheila’s post about suprise parties got me to thinking about, well, suprise parties!
I don’t have any horror stories, in fact just the opposite.
1. My sister’s 40th birthday party. She had earlier in the year gone to a 40th birthday for a friend. It was a catered, private dinner cruise. It was lovely. She said she wished she could do that for her 40th birthday, but she couldn’t afford it. When I looked into it, and even asking my granddad, and my dad to pony up, I couldn’t really afford it either, but I got an idea. I coordinated a suprise dinner cruise for her. I snuck into her house (ok, I had a key) and fortunately she had synched her Palm pilot with her address book on her computer, so I was able to nab her entire address book, and invite all her friends. Then, her boyfriend arranged a “dinner” for her with another couple. Steve told her, “Sorry I couldn’t do a private yacht, but we thought a dinner cruise would be fun.” and my sister pasted a smile on her face as they boarded the Hornblower boat and said, “How nice,” in that voice that was tinged with a little “oh you cheapskate I would rather eat at a nice restaurant.”
But when she entered the ship’s dining room she saw there were oh, say 30 or 40 of her friends– friends from all over the US– and family– also from all over the US and she was totally, completely utterly suprised. It was awesome.
2. 2004. The worst year of my life so far. (although 2006 is in a tie at this point) I was turning 40. My granddad had died in February. I had to find a job, find a new place to live and move. And I was turning forty. Oh yeah, and my sister had cancer. Real bad cancer. Stage 4 breast cancer. In her liver, her brain, her bones. She was in bad shape. And we were settling my Granddad’s estate. And everyone was totally focused on helping Debby get better, and nobody gave a shit about me. Poor me. My life sucked.
August. The week before my birthday. My aunt and uncle and my cousin Katie were visiting, to deal with more estate business, to go through stuff in the house… to visit my poor cancerous sister. No one cared about me. Poor me. And my sister, too tired from chemo, said, “Why don’t you come here for dinner.” So I said, “OK.”
“And why don’t you stop at Trader Joe’s and get some wine.”
Trader Joe’s was on the way, so I said, “No problem.”
It was weird that she insisted I stop at Trader Joe’s, not Ralph’s or Vons… Aunt Mary K and Uncle Bill had gone over earlier. Katie was in the car with me. And I as I turned onto the street where Trader Joe’s is… and turned into the Trader Joe’s parking lot, I notice a whole bunch of people standing around holding balloons…. and one of those trucks with a giant, mega sized basket, a basket for a balloon. And I see my Aunt Mary K, and my Uncle Bill, and hey, what’s my friend Julie doing? she lives in LA! and there’s Karin! and Tina! and Scott! and Ralph ! and Catheryn… and I stall my car, and the person behind me honks because I’m not TURNING. INTO. THE. PARKING. LOT. FAST. ENOUGH. But who cares! Tears are streaming down my face and I’m laughing and crying at the same time, because they do care about me. No one forgot my birthday. My sister remembered my birthday. She arranged a balloon ride for me. For me and a bunch of my bestest friends. She’s the best sister ever.