All my life I’ve secretly wanted someone to throw me a surprise party. Seriously, I wanted it really really bad. But that’s the kind of thing you can’t say to someone: “Hey, you know what I’d love for my birthday? A surprise party.” The request in itself defeats the point. So for years, I’ve just secretly sent mind signals to those nearest and dearest, begging them to surprise me.
But then I had a realization. I hate surprises. Not only do I hate them, I’m not good at them! I’m the girl who spends the entire two hours of a movie trying to figure out the twist before it’s revealed…and most of the time, I do. Also, when I get surprised, I cry. Not a sweet “oh, you shouldn’t have” cry, a snotty, red-faced, puffy-eyed, ugly sobbing cry of complete overwhelming emotion. Case and point: in 3rd grade, I won a news paper contest to name the mascot of the local Children’s Hospital. They brought the Charter Bear (who I named “Caly” for Charter of Augusta Loves You) to my school and did a big presentation and little eight-year-old me sobbed through the entire thing. And on top of all that, when there’s a surprise, you miss the anticipation! You miss the chance to build up the excitement. AND I hate not knowing what’s going on, not knowing my schedule, not being in control. These are all things I’ve recently discovered about myself…or, more accurately, recently accepted.
Back in March of this year, Trey and I already knew we were moving and were frantically getting the house ready and Amy and Adam were frantically getting their wedding planned. So, the soon-to-be Steptoes came to Spartanburg so Amy could do her bridal portraits with the fabulous Melissa Ragan Photography and so Adam could help Trey jack up the dip in our guest room floor. Now that I think about it, those might have been two different trips. Anyway, I vaguely remember an IHOP breakfast with Amy where, when she had gone (presumably) to the bathroom, I told Trey that, for my 30th birthday, all I wanted was to see Amy.
Fast forward to about a week before my birthday – I was still very aware of the request I made back in March. And I was noticing that Amy and Trey had been communicating a lot. While I didn’t quite have the whole thing figured out, every fiber of my being hoped that Amy was flying out to San Antonio for my big day. I literally spend the entire Tuesday before my birthday cleaning the apartment from top to bottom, hoping and praying the whole time that we’d soon have company, and crying when I thought we might not, and smacking myself in the face for getting my hopes up because, if I was wrong, then I couldn’t let Trey know that I was disappointed with whatever other gift he may have gotten me.
When Trey got home from work that Tuesday night (I had just gotten out of the shower), he said he had part of my birthday present for me. The only stipulation was that he had to video me opening it. I cautiously pulled the tissue paper out of the green striped gift bag to find a delicious-looking blueberry muffin. In a timid voice, I asked why he was giving me a blueberry muffin, to which Trey responded “that’s not A muffin, that’s YOUR Muffin.” A few more questions and it was revealed that Trey and I would be flying to South Carolina for the weekend. My eyes filled with tears, my hand flew to cover my mouth to stifle a sob, and I whispered the most appreciative “thank you” that I’ve ever said in my life…after which I made him turn off the camera because the real crying was on it’s way.
So I knew we were flying to SC. What Trey refused to tell me was what city, who we’d be seeing, where we’d be going and what we’d be doing. I mean, I love you baby, thank you for this awesome gift, but DUDE! You gotta tell me SOMETHING! Between Trey and Amy, I was told to pack “comfortable clothes” and shorts…I never wear shorts.
Thursday, we arrived at GSP and were greeted by my awesome parents at the airport. Then it was off to a late lunch with them and Mama Jane. After which, we decided to swing by our house to check on everything. Did we need to get the lawn freshened up, did the house need to be dusted? We found a few things we wanted freshened up…and we also found a mop bucket on the back patio in which someone was growing a marijuana plant. Really.
So we spend the next hour waiting on the police to show up and laughing about the ridiculousness of the situation. On the one hand it was pretty hilarious, on the other hand, however, I was pissed…we’re trying to sell that house! The last thing we need is for a bucket of pot to scare away a potential buyer…or get US in trouble with the law! The very nice Spartanburg County police officer verified that yes, indeed, it was marijuana, and probably a couple hundred dollars worth at that. Then we hit the road to Columbia for dinner with Grandma and Amy and Adam.
Before detailing the rest of our weekend adventures, I have to say that my parents gave me the best birthday gifts ever this year: a beautiful peridot ring that I’ve had my eye on (other than my engagement and wedding rings, it’s really my first piece of REAL jewelry…I’m such an adult), and a thumb drive with about 140 or so of Dad’s sermons. Other than the trip itself, that has to be the best birthday gift of all time.
Okay, so we spent Thursday night in Columbia with Amy and Adam and then Friday we had breakfast with mom, dad, and grandma at the IHOP (did you know they have eggs benedict? I LOVE eggs benedict!), then it was off to Fort Mill…OH, I should mention that Thursday night at dinner, I ventured a guess about our Friday plans: since I was instructed to bring shorts and told that we’d be outside for a while but not particularly active, I guessed that we’d be going to a Charlotte Knights’ baseball game.
The game started at 7. But before that, I had girl time at a local cupcake shop with Sara, Amyfay, Amy A. and Jen (and her family). From there we walked down to Six Pence Pub where we met up with the Ragans, Rob and Nick’s Melissa. After dinner at the pub, we caravaned to the Knight’s game and were joined with the Petersons, the Scroggs’, Josh, and Nick. And after the Knight’s game (no, I have no idea who won) we all went back to Sara’s. I spent the entire evening with my favorite people in the world…for those of you who couldn’t make it (Blair, Andy & Abbey), I’m so sad I didn’t get to see you.
Saturday we had a late breakfast at Flying Biscuit (if you’ve never had their Creamy Dreamy Grits, you’re really, really missing out). I think it was sometime at breakfast that I asked Amy and Trey if I could make a request regarding our plans that day. Amy said no, I couldn’t but I asked if we could go visit Courtney and her new baby, since we were in town anyway. My question was completely dismissed. We arrived at Courtney’s house a couple hours later. PS: baby Adelaide is about the cutest thing ever. After visiting for a couple hours, we headed back to Columbia for our second (well, everyone but Adam’s second) Harry Potter viewing and for turkey steaks wrapped in bacon back at Chez Steptoe.
Sunday, we headed back to Texas. Even though I figured out most of the surprises ahead of time, it was officially the best birthday ever. As Rob put it, “that was fun, you should turn thirty more often.” Ya know, I think I might.