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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Surprise! Or not...

  • A couple of weeks ago my daughter, Madison, requested a surprise birthday party.
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  • A couple of weeks ago my daughter, Madison, requested a surprise birthday party.
     
    We managed to surprise her, but no thanks to my pie hole. The credit goes to my family for their stellar theatrical performances that weekend.
     
    While Maddie’s ninth birthday is actually April 6, it just so happened that Easter weekend was a holiday when the entire family was going to be together. We had already planned to take my mom and dad out to eat for their 40th wedding anniversary which fell on April 1. I figured we could use that opportunity to celebrate a birthday too.
     
    I called my family and pitched the idea of a birthday party after the anniversary lunch the Saturday before Easter. Everyone agreed that was a great idea.
    I mentioned my idea for it to be a “surprise” for Maddie and everyone agreed to play along.
     
    Everyone, that is, except me. I didn’t mean to, I’m just the world’s worst “surprise” party host.
     
    The night before when Maddie and I were decorating for the party, I inadvertently let the cat out of the bag at least a half-dozen times.
     
    “Let’s put streamers from the ceiling!” Maddie suggested.
     
    “Grandpa is tall and will have to duck in the living room if we do that,” I said.
     
    “But Grandpa isn’t coming,” Maddie said.
     
    “You’re right! I guess we can hang streamers from the ceiling.” 
     
    And we did.
     
    My son who was sitting in the chair “supervising” caught my slip of the tongue right away.
     
    “Nice one, mom,” he retorted sarcastically.
     
    “Let’s hang streamers from the ceiling fan too!” Maddie said.
     
    “But if we hang them too low the little kids will jump for them and pull them down,” I reasoned.
     
    “What little kids?” Maddie asked.
     
    “Er, um, I mean we won’t be able to watch television without them being in the way.” 
     
    Mason snorted.
     
    Page 2 of 3 - Later, when she wanted to eat some of the party food I told her she could have just one helping because we had to save the rest for the guests the following day.
     
    “We aren’t having guests,” Hubby said through gritted teeth.
     
    “Er, um, I mean we want to save them to eat for your birthday party tomorrow.” 
     
    Hubby walked away shaking his head.
     
    When we all met at the restaurant the following day my sister told me her girls (ages 3, 5 and 8) would be like steal traps–and they were.
     
    Maddie was pretty certain everyone was coming thanks to my big mouth, but to make sure she asked each of her cousins. True to my sister’s word, each of them said they were busy and couldn’t make it.
     
    Maddie was not yet discouraged. She ask her uncles and aunts. When each of them said they couldn’t make it she began to frown.
     
    Lastly she asked grandpa and grandma.
     
    Grandma too told her she was sorry but she couldn’t make it.
     
    By this time Maddie was beginning to look forlorn.
     
    Thankfully the food arrived before she could ask grandpa.
     
    “I can’t do this! Look how sad she looks,” he whispered. “If she asks me I won’t be able to say I’m not coming. I think we should just give it up and tell her.” 
     
    “Don’t worry about that,” Mason said. “Mom pretty much already has.”
     
    After the meal Maddie found her way to Grandpa.
     
    “Grandpa, your coming to my party, aren’t you?” she asked in her sad little girl voice.
     
    “No, I can’t. I’m sorry,” he said and quickly walked away.
     
    As everyone prepared to leave the restaurant they hugged Maddie and wished her a “Happy Birthday” with sincere apologies that they couldn’t make it to her party.
     
    By this time she was definitely feeling a little down. It was at this point when Hubby poured salt in the wound.
    Page 3 of 3 -  
    To make sure every thing was ready for her at our house when we arrived, he made an excuse that he had somewhere to go and rode with my brother and sister-in-law.
     
    When we got into the car without Hubby Maddie’s disappointment was clear.
     
    “That’s just rude that he won’t come to my party. I’m mad at him!”
     
    “Not as mad as I am,” I said, trying to pretend I was mad too. Apparently I didn’t pull that off either because I caught Mason glaring at me.
     
    We made a few stops along the way to give everyone time to get into position. When Hubby sounded the signal via text we headed home.
     
    The house was so silent when we walked in I thought maybe they had all gone home to spite me. Even the toddlers had been stashed out of sight and weren’t making a peep.
     
    When Maddie walked into the living room 10 family members burst forth from their hiding spots with “SURPRISE!”
     
    And she was.
     
    I owe my family a HUGE thank you for pulling off the maneuver when I couldn’t keep a lid on it.
     
    Later that evening Hubby and I were talking about his 40th birthday coming up next July.
     
    “If you want it to be a surprise you’ll have to ask someone else,” I told him. “I just don’t think I can do this again.” 
     
    “I have an idea,” my son said to Hubby. “How about you let someone else plan it. If Mom does it won’t be a surprise.”
     
    I’ll never live this down.
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