The “Surprise” Party


Frequently in my life, especially in my early years of being married and a young mother,  I have noticed a huge difference between how I feel when I schedule something in the “far” future … and then how differently I feel about the event when the day actually arrives.  The difference between remote, pie-in-the-sky vision versus the reality of the day “the rubber hits the road”.

One of my most vivid memories of an early example of this is when Hubby was turning 25.  Months beforehand I thought it would be so much fun to throw a surprise birthday party for him on that landmark birthday.  So I went about inviting friends and family … the commitment was made.

Let me just set the scene a little:  Hubby turned 25 in January, 1970.  That means Gunny was two and a half years old and DD was 2 months old.  This tells me that when I made the plans for this event I probably did it when I was still expecting DD, so the plans were made by the mother of just one little child (who would have guessed how much difference a second would make!), who was probably also a little unbalanced because of the roller coaster of pregnancy hormones and the resulting emotions.

For whatever reason, it must have still seemed do-able right up until the day of the party, or I was in total denial.  Because I didn’t cancel it. 

On that day, I must have at least had a handle on the food because I don’t remember it (I do remember having my next door neighbor cook a ham in her oven), but I vividly remember suddenly realizing it was just a few hours until people would start showing up, and I hadn’t done anything to clean the house — it was a mess

Yikes!  I would never get everything done by myself.  I needed help!  But I couldn’t ask a friend or family member to come over and help me, because then Hubby would know, and, of course, the person who helped would then know Hubby knew, and, of course, then the word would get around the party, and everybody would know that it wasn’t a surprise!  And, how awkward would THAT be for me and Hubby?  Nope.  I couldn’t ask anyone to come over and  help. 

As I rushed around trying to get things done, but still trying to keep Hubby from noticing anything was wrong (mostly by sending him on errands), I was mentally searching for solutions, while getting more and more upset.  If I had had any hope that I could have made him productive, I would have put a broom in little Gunny’s hands!

Finally I had worked myself into a near-hysterical state, so when Hubby returned from his latest errand, he couldn’t help but notice  my more-emotional-than-normal-even-for-emotional-me self, and asked what was wrong.

That was all it took and I tearfully spilled my guts.  I blurted out the whole sorry story … I planned  a surprise party for you today and there’s no way I can get ready for it so I’m going to have to cancel it and I’m soooo sorry because I reallllly wanted to do this for you! (blubber, blubber)

This is one of my earliest memories of realizing how blessed I am that I married my no-nonsense, problem-solving husband, who loves me very much, because Hubby fixed this for me. 

He said we would still have the surprise party that I had wanted to have (and that he didn’t want me to have to be embarrassed by canceling at the last minute).  He would help me clean the house, and he would just act surprised when everyone arrived.  Have I mentioned … I love that man.

So, we both worked hard for a couple hours and got everything ready for the party.  And, then when the people showed up, Hubby acted somewhat surprised.  Fortunately he and his family aren’t, by nature, over-the-top people, so everyone there would have expected his reaction to be low-key even if he had been surprised.

I have no idea how convincing Hubby was at acting surprised.  Maybe some guests suspected he knew.  But what I do know is that we did have a fun surprise party that the “surprisee” had helped prepare for!

In the end, my memories of this party have very little to do with Hubby’s birthday, but everything to do with the panic of my young, disorganized self planning a party that I ended up not being able to get ready for by myself.  And my sense of relief and gratefulness when Hubby came to my rescue and memorably demonstrated that he would always  “have my back” when the chips were down. 

This was just one of the many times that Hubby has “pulled my fat out of the fire” during our 44 years of marriage.  I am blessed.

Tomorrow:  The story and pictures of an event I’m going to have here today that inspired this memory.

17 Responses to The “Surprise” Party

  1. Hilary says:

    He’s a gem alright.. but I wouldn’t have thought otherwise… look who he married. 🙂

    Looking forward to your next post.

  2. Sandra says:

    Hilary — Thank you, friend. I’ll have to read your comment to him — he’ll get a good laugh! 🙂

  3. What a great story 🙂 I’ve never tried to throw a surprise party, I think I’d be rubbish at keeping it secret…

  4. C says:

    I love this story!! He’s wonderful! One of my good friends–our pastor’s secretary–invited some of us to a “surprise party.” When we asked who it was for, she just said, “just come.” When we got there, we all gathered at the table for dinner, and she revealed it was a surprise party for HER! She was celebrating 10 years at her post at the church! We were, indeed, all surprised, and had a great time! C

  5. Sandra says:

    Rachel — I’m not very good at that whole secret thing either, so he may have known all along, but just didn’t know what to say — as he saw me NOT getting ready in time! 🙂

    C — What a clever idea! And what a thoughtful way for her to have friends celebrate a milestone with her but avoid having to deal with the whole I-don’t-want-gifts thing. I’m going to remember that little ploy.

    It reminds me of a surprise wedding (surprise for the bride!) we were invited to once. I ‘ll have to see if DD can refresh my memory about some of the details of that (because we didn’t actually make it to the wedding, just the reception) and I’ll do a post about it. People can be so clever.

  6. Tim King says:

    Hi, Sandra. That’s a wonderfully sweet story. I would like to believe that I’d do something like that for my Missus if she were to throw me a surprise party.


  7. Sandra says:

    Tim — I bet you would. My guess is that most people would do what Hubby did in the same situation. It’s just such a wonderful surprise when it’s YOU it’s done for! 🙂

  8. mere says:

    So the surprise of the party was really for you! You were given a great gift the day your man entered this world and found you along the way :)!

    CONGRATS on the POTW mention from Hilarys!

  9. Sandra says:

    Amen, Mere!

    Thanks for coming over from Hilary’s place! She’s a good friend and a great encourager. 🙂

  10. Frank says:

    Nice story, well told. Your hubby sounds like a stand-up guy.

    Probably Canadian, eh? 😉

    (I’m another who’s found you via Hilary’s blog.)

  11. C. Beth says:

    That is very, very sweet! The one time I did a surprise party for my hubby, I did it at someone else’s house. I didn’t have to worry about the cleaning that way. 😀

  12. Sandra says:

    Hi, Frank — Thanks for stopping over. I recognize you as Benny’s other “parent”! 🙂

    Re. Canadian men, I have an opinion about them (as I do on MOST subjects!) because for 20 years I dealt every day on the phone with truck salesmen all over the US and Canada, and I remember that the Canadian men I dealt with were the most gentlemenly and polite of them all.

    Hubby and I went to the dealership in Kemptville, ON one year for their once-a-year outing for vendors and customers and they had a Euchre tournament “in our honor” they said, because we live in one of the few areas of the US where their beloved Euchre is played. We had the BEST time! Great Canadian hospitality. So, yeah, Canadian guys (and gals too) are a terrific bunch from our experience.

  13. Maggie May says:

    That was a lovely post and you have a real treasure of a husband there! Glad the party went through.
    Congratulations on POTW at Hilary’s.

    Nuts in May

  14. Sandra says:

    Maggie May — Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Sandra says:

    Beth — What a clever girl you are! I should have just told the neighbor who, after all, was already doing the ham that we would be coming to her always clean house for the party! 🙂

  16. moannie says:

    What a lovely story to illustrate your ‘good man’ and that you to Hilary and her brand new POTW for finding you so that we could all share.
    That reminds me…the story of JP’s fortieth might make a fun post. HHEEE!

  17. Sandra says:

    Moannie — I know exactly how THAT feels! Some of my best posts have been because something I read on someone else’s blog reminded me of that subject. Glad I could be of help! 🙂

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