Friday, August 23, 2019

Birthday Surprises Numbered 2-65

Remember how my sister drove 28 hours round-trip to surprise me for my big birthday?
That was only the first of many, many surprises Brad managed to pull off in the last week.

Karen and Matt arrived on Friday night. The next day, Karen and I drove to Phoenix to look at a house we are flipping and to visit her favorite store in the valley, Nordstrom's Last Chance. It was incredible to spend the afternoon alone with her--laughing, reminiscing, talking of a few serious things as well but mostly just having fun together without kids and other responsibilities.

We walked in the back door, and Eve wore the weirdest look, like she was keeping the biggest secret in the world. Brad said nonchalantly, "I was thinking we should invite a few people over tonight." I sighed, "I don't want to. Karen and Matt are here and they are leaving soon."

But then I looked around and couldn't believe what I saw. That is unabashed surprise on my face.
In the two hours we had been gone, Brad had summoned an army and transformed our house into a HUGE party.
It must have taken a small army to remove all the furniture, borrow another TV, set up tables and chairs in the family room. I asked how many people were coming, and he noncommittally answered, "I don't know exactly. Somewhere around . . . 

. . . 60."

SIXTY!!!! What?

The living room became the buffet line, fully catered from my favorite local Mexican restaurant.

And the desserts! Cookies and lemon bars! The best four-layer brownies! And not one but THREE cakes with my face on them.
Every time I turned a corner, something else surprised me. The decorations. The food. Brad's pleased expression that he had completely surprised me.

He glanced at his watch and said, "You have fifteen minutes till people start showing up. Better get ready!"

I flew upstairs, changed my clothes and freshened up my makeup then came back downstairs.

And there was another surprise!
 Ben was in the kitchen!
 Surprised again!
Then the people arrived.
Brad had planned every detail--managing the guest list, the menu, the setup, even having cards made for guests to write birthday greetings.

People that I love kept pouring into the house, filling plates with food, then finding a seat to enjoy the evening. It was incredible.
Not only had he planned the dinner portion of the party, Brad and Tucker created a Kahoot trivia game all about me, interspersed with group party games and prizes.
 So much laughter and fun.

One of the biggest surprises of the night was when Brad asked a question about our years in Chicago when I attended tapings of Oprah. He even found the old video clip of me on national television, asking the panel a question about sequestering juries during the OJ Simpson trial.
Look how young I was! 25 years old--exactly half my lifetime ago. Man, I loved that rust silk jacket
Before all the celebrating was over, Karen and Matt headed back north. I was sad to see them leave but so grateful they took the time to come down for my birthday.
That party was FUN! So many people have commented to me on what a great time it was, and I have to agree--the best birthday party I've ever attended.

The biggest surprise of all was that I had NO IDEA any of this was happening. In hindsight, I can see a few warning signs of what was coming but not enough to trigger my Spidey senses. Brad managed the whole thing--invitations, following up on RSVPs, buying food and estimating for the caterer, emcee extraordinaire, and enlisting some of my fantastic friends to help with food, decor, games, and planning. Getting people for setup and cleanup. I told him that what he pulled off was like hosting a wedding dinner--and a surprise on top of that. He is incredible, and I'm ever grateful that he's mine.

What an amazing night. I'll always remember how I felt surrounded by friends and family and how much effort Brad went to to celebrate.

I'm ready, 50!

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