On my 16th birthday, I thought I was going out to a movie. My date was supposed to pick me up at my house after my mom and I got home from church. I thought my mom picked up a bunch of pizzas on the way home for her friends, who were coming over to play cards. When we arrived home, my best friend, who was always at my house and probably there to help me get ready, told me that my present from her was in the basement. She proceeded to lead me down there blindfolded. I distinctly remember asking, "Is it a puppy?" Just then, she uncovered my eyes and 20 or so of my closest friends stood before me and yelled "SURPRISE!" I was shocked. I didn't know my jaw could drop and stay there so long. As you probably guessed, I cried tears of joy (even back then) and could not stop smiling. It was unforgettable.
Fast forward 14 years. (Ugh. Only old people can say that.) I knew Rob had something up his sleeve for my 30th birthday, but I didn't know what and mainly when it would be. I was pretty sure it was going to be Sunday, Sept. 23 though so I thought I'd have to act surprised when that day came. Something was supposed to happen on that day, but since I kept changing plans on him, Rob was forced to call an audible. And boy if he didn't execute it to perfection.
We got home last Sunday from yet another Iowa State football victory. We were debating what to eat for lunch when my mom called. She was going to take my aunt out to dinner at Pizza King here in Council Bluffs at 4:30 or so, and would I like to come. Hmm, let's see here. A free meal at one of my favorite restaurants that I don't have to cook. Yesplease. Rob was upstairs at the time and had been talking all day about watching the Cowboys on TV.. So when I told him about dinner at Pizza King, he acted disappointed and said, "But the Cowboys are on TV then." This act was all part of his master plan, but I proceeded to get annoyed. "How would you like it if your family came to town to take you out to dinner for your birthday and I wanted to stay home and watch Big Brother?!" (or something to that effect ;) He apologized immediately (secretly pleased, I'm sure, with his superb acting skills) and it was settled: Pizza King for dinner at 4:30. I knew my mom had to get on a plane for D.C. bright and early the next day, so I didn't think twice about the early time.
We went about our day cleaning, napping, etc. At about 4:15 I was scrambling around the house trying to get ready. In hindsight, Rob was very calm considering he was moments away from the big reveal. We arrived and my mom met us at the front door. She's always eager to take her granddaughter away from me so this also seemed normal. She led me into the room and just when I thought "Hey, wait a second, this is where we threw my mom's surprise 50th," I rounded the corner and once again, my friends and family stood before me and yelled, "SURPRISE." The proceeded to sing "Happy Birthday." Once again, I cried happy tears. This was my second surprise party and I'm only 30 years old! To say I felt blessed is an understatement.
This surprise was extra special for a few reasons. My mother-in-law, sister-in-law and niece drove almost two hours one way. Friends came by themselves, knowing they probably wouldn't know anyone else there. Many others were there on VERY short notice. It meant the world to me.
If that weren't enough (and this is a total brag alert) my husband got every one's attention (in only the way a teacher can) once they were seated with their food and I was at the front of the room filling my plate. He thanked everyone for coming, gave a brief speech and then presented me with diamond earrings! If the party weren't enough, diamond. freaking. earrings! This man is gooood! I also had no idea those were coming so, naturally, I cried. Again.
The surprise party was so much fun, but the best part was learning the details of the planning process. Rob acting upset about missing the cowboys game, Mom calling me all casually like, "Hey, let's go to dinner," when really the party hinged on my agreement. Getting the cake, flowers and balloons and paying for them without me noticing. But by far the best thing I learned after the fact was that Rob really didn't go running on Monday and Wednesday earlier that week. When Faith and I got home, he was wearing his running clothes and Faith called him dirty, as usual. But he hadn't been running. He'd be planning, and shopping. Not wanting me to suspect anything because he wasn't sweaty, Rob ran five laps around our backyard to work up a sweat. That right there is love. Hearing about it was like another present.
Having the party before my birthday really allowed me to put "turning 30" into perspective. Sure, I'm no longer in my 20s (time to drop my 20 something bloggers membership), but as a friend put it in one of my birthday cards, at 30 you really feel like you've "hit your stride, figured life out a little, built a family, etc." I couldn't agree more. I think the thing I love most about this age is getting to enjoy my parents enjoying my daughter. There's nothing else like it.
As far as "getting older," let's face it, I've always been "old."
Number one: I'm a huge morning person. Just ask my college roommates, who thought I was
Number two: I enjoy reading the newspaper. In print.
Number three: I fall asleep on the couch at approximately 9:15 p.m.
Number four: Ever since Faith was born, we eat dinner no later than 5:30 p.m.
Number five: For fun in high school, my friends and I would play cards. No, not drinking games. Rummy. Grandma's rummy.
I had great friends at age 16 and have a pretty great family at age 30. What more can a girl ask for? Not even diamond earrings.