Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Did you know that Brent and my sister threw me a surprise birthday party?? Sure you did because apparently, I was the only person who did not know what was afoot.

The Background:
My cute, YOUNGER sister Stephanie asked me some time ago whom I would invite to a party if I were stupid enough to commemorate my upcoming black birthday. I explained that I had considered organizing a fun milestone celebration but decided to opt for a quiet, contemplative, calm day with the family. That was the first and last discussion of a birthday party. I planned, against Dylan Thomas' advice, to go gently into that good night.

The Deception:
In the several weeks preceding the big and dreaded day, small things happened that made me slightly suspicious. I asked Brent more than once if he and/or Stephanie were planning something. Brent struggles to keep even Christmas gift surprises from me so when he denied involvement in a conspiracy to publicly enshrine my old age, I believed him.

The Oblivion:
In the spirit of planting my own garden and decorating my own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring me flowers, I made week-long plans for my birthday. I bought myself my favorite perfume and some sandals online, scheduled a weekend run and massage and accepted dinner invitations from friends who knew my anxiety was reaching an epic level. Brent gave me an unexpected and great present and asked if Wednesday (the day before my birthday) would work for us to go to dinner. I told him that I needed to go out earlier than he normally arrives home because Stephanie was coming into town to spend the night at our house. He was very accommodating.

The Sting:
Dinner was nice and simple. We went to Noodles and Company--not fancy but I heart complex carbohydrates and I had a birthday coupon :) After we finished eating, Brent uncharacteristically suggested that we stop by Target "...for some, uh...candy, yeah, candy. I want to buy some candy." Part way through the vital treats run, Stephanie texted that we could pick her up from the hotel where her friend's family was staying. You know, the friend who that Stephanie was able to travel with because the friend was coincidentally driving to Layton that day to see family who just happened to be staying there. (Yep. I'm a little gullible.) We arrived at the hotel and started in. "WHAT is up? You look waaaay too pleased with yourself," I remarked. Brent smirked slyly and quoted Lloyd Christmas, "Why don't you eat up and I'll tell ya!" The rest goes just about how you would imagine. I walked into a "Stephanied" room full of decorations, food, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. I got momentarily verklempt and then partied the night away.

The experience was absolutely surreal. I am choked up just writing about the sight of so many gathered who have charmed my life. Even more touching than the overwhelming scene was the tribute book that some friends compiled with kind thoughts from those who attended the party and many who couldn't. I truly am a blessed (albeit, old) woman.


Suzanne said...

I wish I could have been there (although I was there in spirit). You are beautiful, amazing, wonderful, inspirational, fun, friendly and so much more, no matter your age (personally, I think you get prettier and prettier every time I see you). I love you, Rita. See you in four weeks!!

The Bullknitter said...

How fun, Rita! I'll bet that was your funnest party ever. Yay, Steph. Happy birthday!

Colett's Corner said...

Wished I could have been there Rita. Tell me how you do your cute digital scrapbook????

Amy and Brad said...

LOVED this update! I so wish we could have been at that party!

Jana said...

Wish I could have been there to celebrate you! But I definitely thought of you throughout the day and count it a blessing to be your friend! And I agree with Suzanne, you just get better with age! Love Ya!

Katie said...

I just want you to know that Noah likes to sing "Happy Birthday to Rita" at nap time and bed time. And in the car... at dinner time... While playing with his trains... Maybe next time he'll actually sing it for YOU!