I accomplished an impossible mission. I managed to pull off a surprise party for Phil’s 40th birthday.
It was something that I never imagined doing; I am a terrible liar, Phil is pretty clever and, honestly, it just seemed like a lot of work. But as this milestone birthday crept up on us, I started thinking that it deserved a little bit more than our usual celebration.
What could I do to make this celebration a special one?
So I started sending messages to our most fun friends asking if they would be up to taking a road trip for some good food and the chance to yell “SURPRISE”. I was skeptical that I would get any positive responses – considering the distance and the cost – but I did! A dozen friends happily agreed to make the drive down for Phil’s birthday dinner.
Then I emailed Carmen, who lives in Calgary, and enlisted her assistance with setting up the dinner. She was a God-send in helping the entire day go off without a hitch!
Now all I had to do was try to not spill the beans for the next 3 weeks…
Which was SO HARD!
I was nearly bursting with excitement by the time Phil’s birthday weekend rolled around, and I was alternately thrilled that I was actually pulling this off, and positive that Phil, somehow, figured it all out.
As we drove to Calgary, I was checking Twitter to see if any of our friends would slip up and mention something – anything – about going to Calgary. I was pleased to see that they were not only keeping the secret, but actively trying to throw him off. Carmen actually pretended to have flown out of town, and was tweeting as if in Texas.
As we wandered around Calgary, I was constantly texting our location to make sure we didn’t accidentally run into anyone. Then my faux-nonchalance was really put to the test when we were heading back to the hotel for a relax before dinner when I got messages from 2 separate people letting me know that they were also checking into the same hotel within a few minutes.
That was when I had an immediate need to
stall stop in to a local pub for a drink.
As our reservation time drew near, I was just about bouncing off the walls with excitement. Phil must have been so focused on the meal ahead that he didn’t notice my bizarre behaviour and crazy smile (either that, or he really just ignores me most of the time), because I was literally vibrating as I ushered him out of the room and across the street to the restaurant.
But those 3 weeks of secret-keeping-induced pain was all worth it was we were led to our table. A dozen of our friends, with their cameras at the ready, yelling “SURPRISE!” and my husband in complete shock.
He was so still and so silent for so long as he processed that all these people were there for him.
And then he noticed Carmen, who was supposed to be in Texas.
And then he regained his composure and turned on the charm.
And all the while, I grinned like a crazy woman.
It was a great night, filled with fantastic food and more laughs than I can count. We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends in our lives. And if this party gave Phil even a fraction of the happiness that he has given me over the past 12 years, then it was a huge success.
*Thanks to Kayla for the in-the-moment pictures of the surprise
**While you’re at it, check out Chris’s post about all the food