I forgot to post this a few months ago…better late than never, right?!
For those of you that don’t know, birthdays are a very big deal to me. Growing up in my family birthdays were always something to look forward to. If my birthday fell on a school day, my parents would always send a large bouquet of balloons or yellow roses. I would be loaded with cards, flowers, balloons and gifts, and let’s be honest, I absolutely loved this. Birthdays were always fun celebrations of love and laughter and I came to cherish each and every one.
As an adult I find it a little more embarrassing to be as openly excited about birthdays, but the truth always slips out. I just can’t contain the joy that overcomes me when birthdays are near! This year, the day before my birthday at our Bible study, I was surprised with the most amazing birthday cake ever. I mean ever. It was a tribute to America and me and I loved every bit of it (including the person who made it!!). Everyone at my work knows how much I love birthdays so they did an amazing job of decorating my desk in the craziest way possible. There were decorations everywhere, cards on my desk, a beautiful bouquet of roses, and a nice big gift! I was ecstatic.
Another reason I love birthdays aside from all the attention you get, is I adore surprises. With that being said, I am a fairly difficult person to surprise because I am always thinking of how people could surprise me! You can imagine my delight when Ben took me out to a nice romantic dinner and all my girlfriends were there to surprise me! Ben kissed my cheek and left us girls to enjoy a nice night out together. We enjoyed tasty Italian food and good conversation.
The last surprise for my birthday came a few days later. Ben had asked all of my Cambridge friends to write limericks (I had to have him clarify exactly what kind of poem this was!) about me and the past year. There were 29 of them and each one was made up (for the most part) of 29 syllables. They were amazing. Some had me crying, others had me smiling, and some had me rolling with laughter (Jackie!!). Ben put them all together in this great book that had photos of my friends and favorite memories from my 28th year. This is a gift I will always treasure. I thought I would share one of my favorite limericks with you since so many of you won’t have the opportunity to see it anytime soon. I hope you enjoy!
The Surprise by Ben Wilson
She flew across the ocean,
holding this crazy notion:
To home she goes,
but no one knows-
this might cause some commotion!
One thing you should know about me is I love surprises. I love to be surprised and I love to surprise others. I absolutely live for the challenge of pulling off a great surprise. This Christmas I pulled off my biggest one yet.
We had the blessing of being able to go home this Christmas and we decided that instead of telling my parents we were coming home for the holidays, we would simply show up on their doorstep on Christmas day. I started planning with my brother (Zach) in October making sure that he and his wife (Stephanie) would have some time off and that they could plan to be with my parents. Not only would we get to spend some quality time with them, but it would also ensure that my parents didn’t plan some sort of last-minute Caribbean cruise or something! With the planning underway, we got more and more excited.
When I spoke to my parents, I carefully avoided the subject of what we were doing for Christmas and talked more about my company’s Christmas party and all the things our church was doing. Finally on the 23rd of December, we set off for the airport. We had a fun two days leading up to Christmas day and I couldn’t get over how excited I was to see our families. My enthusiasm for all things America and family just kept bubbling over. I was like a giddy schoolgirl.
Christmas morning finally dawned and it was an amazing day from beginning to end. We enjoyed Christmas morning with Ben’s family and then had a great lunch together. We then set off for my parents house. I have to say that I loved the two and half hour drive to their house. After having not driven in over a year and a half, it felt great to be on the open roads. We arrived at my parents house and I drove extremely slowly up their driveway so that they wouldn’t hear the car. We gently shut the doors of the jeep, crept up the walkway and then slowly tried to open the front door.
It stuck. I had to mash the handle pretty good before the door gave way and opened. I could hear my family talking in the living room as Ben and I slowly walked in. As I turned the corner I said cheerfully, “Merry Christmas!!” Everyone turned our way and my dad was the first to respond. He promptly shouted, “What?! Who is this?!” My mom’s hand flew to her mouth as she gasped out loud. The next thing I heard was my dad saying, “this is so cool!”
It finally sunk in to my mom (who thought she was hallucinating!) and she got up and put her hands on both sides of my face and just stared at me for a minute. Then she kissed my check and pulled me in for a fierce hug. My dad had finally recognized me by this point and after hugging Ben, he wrapped his arms around me and my mom who were just standing there hugging. It was the best Christmas gift I have ever been given and the best surprise I have ever pulled off.