Friday, March 5, 2010

In the Words of Gomer Pyle

Sur-prise Sur-prise Sur-prise!

I’m linking up with Flashback Friday today and the word of the week is 'surprise'. Visit Mylestones to read more ‘surprise’ posts today.

I’ve never been given a surprise party but my husband did pull off a nice surprise for my 40th birthday. Mine is the third of the three September birthdays in our family so by the time it rolls around I’ve usually overdosed on cake and am happy with a nice dinner out. And jewelry. Jewelry is always good.

Anyway, we were living in Annapolis the year of my Big 40 (isn’t that awful-who thought of that anyway?) and it fell on a Sunday. We hadn’t made any serious plans (that I knew of), which was fine. The Friday morning of my birthday weekend I walked with my girls to the bus stop as usual. Just as the bus pulled up daughter2 turned around and very quickly handed me an envelope as she said , “This is for you’” and off she went. I glanced at the envelope and all I really noticed was that it had the words private and confidential stamped across it. 

Keep in mind daughter2 has always kept me on my toes and I will confess my immediate thought was she had gotten into some mischief at school and this was the letter of explanation. I even felt a moment of annoyance…why did she wait until she was hopping on the bus to give me this letter? It must be really bad. For the record daughter2 has never gotten into the kind of mischief that would require a letter from the school but at the time it did not seem outside the realm of possibility.

When I opened the letter I discovered it wasn’t from the school at all (sorry daughter2!)…it was from my husband. The letter said I should pack a bag for the weekend and he would pick me up from work at noon. I called him right away and reminded him I work until 4 but he assured me he had already sorted all that out with my school. What do I pack? Do I need dressy clothes? A bathing suit? What about the kids? Are they going too? You know they have xyz activities this weekend?

Sometimes I’m a killjoy.

He wanted to tell me to take a chill pill I'm pretty sure but instead he let me know that my mom was on her way down from NJ to spend the weekend with the girls. I must say this piece impressed me the most.

September is perhaps my favorite month of the year. Typically the weather is just right and then of course there’s my birthday. Hubs picked me up from work at noon but kept me guessing about the destination.

We crossed the Bay Bridge onto Maryland’s Eastern Shore and eventually made our way to the Brampton Inn, a charming B and B in historic Chestertown. The town sits beside the Chester River and is filled with antique shops, lovely old homes and some nice restaurants.

After breakfast on Saturday we decided to take a bike ride which hubs tricked me into believing assured me would only be a couple of miles but let’s just say it was ten times that. It was hot and that made me slightly cranky but the countryside was so pretty and he was so sweet I couldn’t stay mad. It also happened that my birthday coincided with Chestertown's Historic Homes Candlelight Tour and hubs had even arranged tickets for Saturday night followed by a nice dinner in one of the restaurants near the river.

My husband is always thoughtful and often surprises me with flowers or a Payday candy bar or by doing some job around the house that would normally be ‘mine’ but this was different. I think even more than the weekend I loved the thought that went into the planning of it all…getting my work in on the surprise, arranging for my mom to come down, booking tickets to the home tour…these things all were done in secret and were planned well in advance of the actual weekend and that made me feel special.

Isn’t that always the nicest kind of surprise?

I’ve included this picture because it just makes me smile.

I can overlook the ridiculous expression on my face as I blow out some candles, the sunglasses still perched atop my head, the mess on the kitchen table, the basement door standing wide open.

Instead I see decorations hung by children.

I see daughter2 at age 10, with her great big happy smile.

I see the gentle way daughter1 has her arm across my shoulder.

I hear singing and it is pure sweetness. 

That's not a surprise.


  1. What a wonderful surprise your hubs planned for you! I like how he even got daughter2 involved with the little note she handed you, how your mom drove down, and also how he pre-planned all of the surprises once you arrived to your surprise destination. I'm sure he got major points for all of it.

  2. Wow I say he is a keeper. I don't like surprise parties but I like surprises like that.

  3. Aww, love that picture of you and the girls. It IS pure sweetness.
    And as for that surprise get-away, I'm thinking the bar is set for my 40th. Must remind my husband to read this post. :-)
    Thanks for linking up this week!

  4. What a wonderful birthday surprise! Very nice memories. Thanks for sharing them, and have a great weekend!

  5. I didn't notice the things on the table or the open door...I saw those 2 sweet girls spending some special time with their mom! That "hubs" is a great guy...didn't know he had it in him! ;)

  6. I think your husband's a keeper, what with the birthday surprises, the bling and the Paydays.

    PS. I'm so glad I'm not the only one that takes Joy out into the woods and puts a bullet into its head.

  7. What a lovely memory :-) I only noticed the sweet girls and decorations too.
    Have a lovely day today.

  8. I love this post...what an amazing surprise your hubby put together, but even more, I love that photo with your daughters. I have to remind myself sometimes that I should live, instead of constantly trying to make things "just so." I didn't even notice the mess or the open door until you pointed them out...I was too busy looking at the joy on your faces. :) Great post!

  9. Love it! Oh, I am a killjoy, too. I am too much of a planner!! Love the last picture!

  10. What a fun, surprise birthday for your 40th birthday. I planned a surprise party for my hubby one year and my girls and I almost had a nervous breakdown over all the details. It was nervewracking. He had a surprise party for me too, one year and I almost didn't show up for the party. Surprises are fun, but can make life crazy. Love & blessings from NC!

  11. Wow, what a great memory!! I am not very good with surprises that take me out of my comfort zone (planner), but I'd like to give that one a try.

    Wonderful picture, a great captured moment.

  12. My husband and I vacationed on the Eastern Shore a few years ago and just loved it - so beautiful and quiet! And a candlelit tour of old homes sounds just perfect. You have one thoughtful hubby! That is truly a great surprise :)

  13. What a lovely surprise!!! And great pictures :)

  14. I'm going to copy this and forward it to my husband in a couple years. ; )

    I think he kind of "owes" me one since my 30th birthday is still lovingly referred to as my "Coupon Birthday".

    These kind of surprises in a marriage are what make a lifetime with someone so much sweeter. Not to mention that they contribute to the "lifetime" factor. ; )