It's just been birthday central around here lately. First Elvis, then my mother, then my nephew and Chris's is next Thursday.
But I can't let Mom's get lost in the shuffle. She turned 70 on January 14, an event my sister and I decided couldn't go by without some sort of celebration, despite Mom's insistence that she didn't want a party.
She got one anyway, an intimate party of four. Susan (my sister) and I drove from Atlanta to Huntsville, Alabama, on the 13th, arriving about 6:30 p.m., while Mom and Dad were at the gym. Daddy, who was in on the plot, had left the front door unlocked. We brought dinner, homemade chicken vegetable soup, angel rolls and birthday cake. Plus, we'd stopped at the Piggly Wiggly in New Hope, Alabama, and bought ice cream for coffee punch and to go with the cake. We set the table with Mom's crystal and china.
Leroy, Daddy's shih tzu, let us know when they were almost home. He starts whining whenever Daddy's car reaches the bottom of the hill. (They live at the top.) Mom opened the front door. Susan and I jumped from behind the sofas and shouted surprise. Mom fell back against the door, clutching her chest. Nearly giving us a heart attack.
Fortunately it was just surprise, nothing fatal. We had dinner and chatted like grownups until after midnight. Just the four of us, our original little nuclear family. Mom says it's the best birthday she's had in years. Maybe since she was 16 and her best friend threw her a surprise party.
It was fun for us too. We don't often do things that surprise our parents. We know each other too well after all these years. But she was truly and pleasantly surprised. Now, what will we do when Daddy turns 72 this summer?