I prepared for a planned evening, under the guise of "celebrating our anniversary." Except when I got in the car, Robb blindfolded me. He told me to act normal, stop worrying, and think small. Because nothing big was coming my way. Right. This felt so normal, care free, and understated. We drove all around, as he took shortcuts, quick turns, and parking lot detours to puzzle my mental sense of direction (which is sketchy on a good day).
And finally, it was time for me to get out of the car. I was permitted to remove my blindfold (a fuzzy, pink scarf that did not go with my hair), but I had to keep my eyes covered until further notice. Robb held my hand and I clutched his arm, while he led me up the sidewalk at a ridiculously fast pace for someone with impaired vision and high heels.
He led me up the sidewalk and through multiple doors, and then he said, "Ready?"
And a multitude shouted, "Surprise!!"
I opened my eyes to see a room full of people from every circle of my life: from my family, my childhood, my teaching days, and every different circle of friendship. Each chapter of my life was represented in one room. There were balloons, birthday cupcakes, banners, decorations, presents, and so many faces. I realized later that they burst into song, singing Happy Birthday to me. But just then, I was too overwhelmed to take it all in. I was shocked. Utterly.
"Open it, Tricia. Open it." Friendly voices encouraged me from all around the room, their cameras poised to capture whatever was inside.
In case you're new, here's a newsflash: I Love My Brother. And it happens to be mutual. We're pretty crazy about each other, this friendship, and our shared life as siblings.
We hadn't seen each other in nine months. And here he was, wrapped up for me.
He captured this video, from Inside The Box.
And the party started.
There were games, conversation, cupcakes, lots and lots of candles, and so many of my favorite things. And I was more than a little disoriented, from start to finish.
(Good thing there were also cameras.)
Immeasurable thanks to my husband, the party planner.
(Truly, I had no idea he had it in him. I think he has a crush on me. That's the only reason for such detailed planning and extroverted activity. I am appropriately impressed. Well done, my love. You pulled it off.)
(And so did the rest of you, you bunch of liars and secret keepers.)
My brother in town would have been a stellar birthday gift.
A room full of most of my favorite people would have also been an unforgettable happening.
But together? In the same night? Without my knowledge or careful planning?
Well, it's an emotional altitude unbeknownst to me.
And just think: my birthday is still a week away.
But as far as I'm concerned, it's merely a date on the calendar.
I have been sufficiently celebrated.