Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day Four: That, not that one... THAT one

Day Four of the "30-Day Challenge" has arrived, and I have procrastinated completing it.  It is now almost 11 PM.  I am so cold that my fingers are stiff and achy; typing is a pain--literally.  I am going to give this my best shot under the circumstances, though.  Today's challenge is to post a picture of my favorite night. 

There are actually no pictures from my favorite night.  It was a very intimate, very private night.  And no, it's probably not what you're thinking.  My favorite night was the night Amelia was born.  She arrived at 8:12 on a Tuesday morning after over 24 hours in labor.  I remember thinking, Oh good.  I'll be able to get some rest before people start showing up after work.  Wrong.  They moved me to my room between 10:30 and 11:00.  Within 20 minutes, people began arriving.  And they never stopped.  For the next ten hours, there was between 6 and 15 people in my room at all times.  And while I was thankful for them all and excited for them to meet our new daughter, it was completely exhausting and more than a little overwhelming.  Around 9:00 that night, we finally found ourselves alone.  Just John, me and our precious baby girl.  It was the first time my new little family had been together, just the three of us.  John crawled into my hospital bed with me and we curled up with our Amelia.  The next hour or so were the most precious, emotional, beautiful, sacred moments of my life.  There's no way I could put it into words, even if I were so inclined to share the details. 

So that is my favorite night.  The challenge, however, is for me to post a picture of my favorite night.  Since none exist, I feel I should choose another night of which there are pictures.  So I've chosen another night that is very special to me: my surprise 29th birthday party.

I turned 29 in 2008.  My husband decided he'd throw me a surprise birthday party.  It turns out that John is much sneakier than I ever thought.  He managed to organize this entire shindig--food, guests, everything--without me even being suspicious.  And there were more than a few hints.  For example, the day before the party, John wanted to go on a cleaning binge.  He insisted that everything had to be clean and it had to be done right then.  For starters, John hates cleaning.  I did find it odd, but he told me he just wanted to do his part since it was my birthday. 

The day of the party, we were attending a wedding.  Some friends invited us over to celebrate my birthday that evening after the wedding.  By the time we got to the reception, it was time for us to go to their house, but I didn't want to be rude and leave right away.  John insisted that we stay awhile longer, reassuring me that our friends would understand.  By the time we left, I was stressing over being late.  John--who had spent quite a bit of time during the reception in the bathroom--announced we had to go home to get his medicine.  I know it sounds awful, but this pissed me off.  I kept saying, "But we're already late!  They made dinner for my birthday and I'm not even there!"  He told me he had to get his medicine.  So off we go to our house, with me pouting the whole way. 

By the time we get to the house, I was pretty irritated.  He parked in the driveway and said, "Let's run in and get the medicine."  This should have tipped me off that something was amiss.  We NEVER park in the driveway and we rarely use our front door. But I was too focused on his insistence that I go in.

"Why do I have to go in?  Just go get your medicine."

"Amber, just go in with me."

"Why?  I just want to sit here."

"It will only take a minute.  Just go in."

Now, a rational human being would have stopped and thought, This is odd.  Why on earth is he insisting that I go in so that he can get his medicine?

But by this point, I was steamed.  Any suspicions I might have had were replaced by anger.  I finally got out of the car and shut my door a little harder than necessary.  We were halfway down the sidewalk in front of the house when a van slowed down and turned into our driveway. 

"Who is that?"

"Don't know."

"John, stop and go see who it is."

"They're probably just turning around."

"But they pulled all the way into the driveway.  Go see what they want."

But John kept on walking as I followed behind him, stomping my feet and, well, bitching (if I want to be totally honest).   Never did anything in my brain say, Something is fishy.  And it was my birthday, the one day of the year that the likelihood of something surprising happening is increased 235%.

We get to the front door and he opens it.  I walk in and am met by a house full of my friends and family yelling, "Surprise!"

Over the past months, John had been secretly corresponding with my nearest and dearest, even setting up an email account where people could RSVP.  He had employed friends and family to get balloons and decorations and cake (2 big cakes, petit fours and long johns!)  Everyone had parked around the corner so that I wouldn't be tipped off!  When I walked in and realized what was going on, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry!  I was so happy and SOOO embarrassed because I had behaved like such a little prat.  All the things I'd been mad about were all cover-ups for the party.  When I thought John was in the bathroom, he was actually on the phone with folks at our house who were getting everything ready.  There was no dinner at my friends' house--it was just a way to keep me from planning anything.  The medicine was an excuse to come home, and we had to come in the front door so I'd see everything set up.  No one could BELIEVE I wasn't suspicious, especially once we got to the house and one of my friends pulled up in the van!  They all got a kick out of me berating John on the way into the party (they heard everything!)   The transition from angry to OVERWHELMED WITH EMOTION was quick and a bit disorienting.

The party was incredible, with 35-40 people from my past and present there to celebrate.  It was like my own personal "This is Your Life."  And the best was when they sent me into the kitchen to get my "present" and there stood my best friend Jenny who lives six hours away. 

I can't pick just one picture from that night, so here are a few of my favorites.  Wish I had a picture for every moment. 

I think I was in shock momentarily

The light in my brain just came on!

And then I cried (kind of glad this one is blurry!)

My "official" cake and petit fours from Big Star in Henderson (they're like crack)
Ray Ray lighting my candles before everyone sang.  Notice the 2nd cake on the right that my mom made for me.  It's the one I requested for the "decoy" party I thought we'd be attending.
Jenny and I chowing down on a long john full of plastic baby (that's a blog for another day, kids)

Opening gifts

My daddy entertaining Jenny and Michael

Me and the platic baby (and a glass of top secret hooch)

Yvette and Kevin, the friends were were having "dinner" with

My WONDERFUL husband and his poop eating grin because he pulled one over on me  :)

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