A few months back, I celebrated a significant birthday. Ffity years to be precise. It did not go unrecognized.
My dad sent a photo of me at age 10 - enlarged to poster size - to the colleague in the office next door. He happily posted it on my office door for all to see. There was a surprise before the afternoon's doctoral exam: a cake, gorgeous daffodils from a friend's garden.
Crash and the Boy put an ad in the program for their school musical: Happy 50th Birthday, Mom! If you were a horse, we would have shot you by now...love...
It was all a delight.
A week ago Friday, three months after my big day, I took the boys to pirate camp in the morning. We came back in the late afternoon to spend some time at the pool. I had a lovely swim, after which I towel dried my hair, didn't even stop to brush it, and threw a sun dress on. Barnacle Boy wanted a pizza for dinner, Crash was harassing me to leave, but I wanted to catch up with a friend who'd stopped by on her walk. He went off to amuse himself by giving someone a hand setting up for the next event at the pool - a kid birthday party.
Five minutes later I look up as the guests come in the gate, and reach to gather my things to go feed my hungry horde. Why, I wonder, are my neighbors here? And my colleague from the English department? I don't clue in until Barnacle Boy carols, "Happy Birthday, Mom!" Oh dear..it's a surprise party. For me.
Apparently when I went on retreat, the planning for this top secret event went into high gear. The invitiation from Math Man noted that since they'd waited until three months after my birthday, I was sure to be surprised. I was.
What touched me the most was how well my husband knew all the parts of my life. Friends of long standing, students now turned into colleagues, my morning prayer community, from far and wide - around the pool and virtually present (Math Man had a folder of collected greetings.)