Life

The Big Surprise … wait for it…

Sarah / December 8, 2019

So about mid-October, I got another wild hair…

I convinced Emily that Dad only turns 80 once, and since he does seem pretty sure that France is as far away as the moon, it would be special to surprise him for his birthday – and while we were at it, we could celebrate Thanksgiving, her birthday, Christmas and Chris’s birthday. But since Em and Chris are both still traumatized from their last Thanksgiving travel like 20 years ago, they didn’t want to come until the following week. So while she booked their tickets, it was on me to come up with a plausible explanation to give Mom and Dad … a month out … about why I couldn’t do Thanksgiving on real Thanksgiving, and I needed to move it to the following week. The best I could come up with was that some cranky old federal court judge set a hearing in one of my cases for Friday … and so I wouldn’t be able to enjoy Thanksgiving so much since I would be in preparation mode for that hearing. That little white lie seemed to go over well enough.

Of course, then I-70 was closed on Friday – the day I was supposed to be in the hearing – because of a rock slide … so that required me to tell another lie…

I now see how this happens… you tell one little lie for the greater good, and before you know it, you’re deep in lies that you’ve had to tell to make all the prior lies believable. It’s brutal, and pretty soon, it’s hard to keep track in your head what’s real and what isn’t because you’re trying so hard not to screw up the surprise.

So fast forward to Thursday afternoon when the big moment finally arrived. Emily and I – thinking ahead – set up my laptop to record the big moment.

Testing testing…

They pulled into the driveway, and Paul and I went out to help them bring all their stuff into the garage… just like everything was normal. (Well, except for Paul being on crutches, because Gus tried to kill him on the stairs but only succeeded in tearing his quadricep tendon.) Sweet little Gus wants me all to himself and is quite certain he can take on Paul…

Em and Chris sat at the dining room table, and each time I’d walk past that window, I could see Chris’s head duck … and I was just hoping that Mom (who sees stuff like that – she always has had eyes in the back and sides of her head) wasn’t paying attention. Fortunately, she wasn’t. So then we got them inside. Mom is quicker than Dad, so she found them first…

WHAT?!

And then we all waited … and waited … and waited… for the almost three full minutes that it took Dad to change from his outside boots into his inside boots. Paul fiddled with whatever was in Mom’s grocery bag and I pretended like it was the most interesting thing in the world as Dad showed me the tape job that he did on his outside boots so he could get a few more years out of them, all while Emily and Chris sat silently and Mom pretended like they weren’t there. I think all of us were thinking, COME ON ALREADY!!!! And then finally… all right … Dad was ready. So I gave him another hug and said “Emily really wanted to be here.” And Dad responded, “Well, we would really like for Emily to be here. It just doesn’t seem right.”

Yes, it’s real. Happy Birthday, Dad!

The world is smaller than Dad thought, after all – turns out France isn’t as hard to get to as the moon! So we have all just enjoyed a really fun weekend – full of food, laughs, stories and love. We even saw the first elk of the year on their way back up the Valley this morning.

And Gus… that little sweet Gus. Last year, he LOVED the Christmas tree.

For the most part, he has left the Christmas tree alone for the last week since I put it up with tinsel and lights. Paul and I had an over/under bet about whether he would try to climb it again this year – I took over, because, well, Gus is unfamiliar with the concept of rules. But yesterday, I put up the ornaments – and immediately, he was mesmerized. He couldn’t help himself, so he knocked a few ornaments off just to have some fun – but not enough to get in trouble. And then he waited until we all went to bed to do what he’d really been wanting to do since I took last year’s tree down…

This is what we woke up to.
I mean… the angel … he got the angel off the top of the tree!

Life is good, and special.

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