I've dished on my actual birthday (and am feeling exceptionally better about the big 2-1...thank you writing catharsis). But there's more to the story (always is when I'm telling it).
Last night I had to say a hard goodbye. It came out of nowhere...came quicker than I'd expected...and left me feeling absolutely powerless to the heavy hand of reality.
Sounds like the end of the world, right?
That's because it is.
As the clock struck midnight I bid a full year's farewell to...
...my birth month.
It's been my best friend for the last 31+ days.
It's brought me closer to those I love, attracted more attention my way, and made me feel more abundantly blessed than any other month this year (minus May...wedding months trump birthday months hands down).
Saying goodbye basically shattered my high hopes for continuing along my spoiled streak...
...especially when it comes to begging favors from my Parker.
I've used it to my advantage all kinds of ways!
When trying to convince my cozy couch-sitting companion to let me burrow my cold toes under his bum...
"But baby...I'm so cold. How can you say no to keeping your wifey warm? Not to mention it's my birth-week!"
When trying to talk my way out of a budget...
"Baby...you can't make me count this coat toward my Christmas budget. It's my birth-month! You're supposed to let me spoil you (and do whatever else I'd like to do)."
When trying to persuade him to permanently swap me for his better spooning-side of the bed...
"But sweetie...it's my birth-year!"
Parker: Took it too far that time Chels...
Parker: Still a no.
Outside of that last fail I fared pretty well with this. My cute boy wished me a "happy birph-week" at least 5 times a day and even pulled off the impossible.
He surprised me...
...for the 2nd year in a row.
This never happens. I always know. I ask too many questions. Suspiciously eye everyone I know. And then interrogate the weak until they break.
Only problem...Parker's not weak...not in the slightest.
And I never suspected my parents...not once.
So they got me good...
...got me with the best birthday surprise ever!
Parker & I decided early in the week that we'd be celebrating my birthday together on Tuesday the 26th (the day before my big day). No parties. No family. No friends. Just the two of us at our favorite restaurant Settebello (yum!) topping off the night with gelato in lieu of a cake.
Parker "had a test" Thursday and didn't want to spend our celebratory night stressing out over needing to speed home to study. And you all had a sneak peek of what my Wednesday looked like, so I quickly agreed.
Tuesday it is.
Well...if any of you know me you know I am FAMOUS for rescheduling (or should I say infamous???). I am in desperate need of a cut and color, so, when my stylist's Tuesday night appointment opened up, I took it!
"Happy birph-week" to me!
Cue suspicious move #1.
When I called to tell him the news and ask if we could bump the birthday dinner to Thursday night, Parker resisted.
Odd considering he's typically pretty go-with-the-flow when it comes to schedule changes like this (even though he doesn't particularly like change).
So I tried talking the eskimo out of his heating pad...
"But sweetie, I already made the appointment. And I need it SO badly! Won't it be better to do it Thursday anyway? You'll be completely carefree with your test out of the way. It's a good idea! Plus it's my birth-week!"
I said it'd be impossible to get another appointment with my stylist this week.
He asked why it couldn't wait 'til next.
I said I needed the start of the week to work on my Wednesday presentation.
He said he needed Thursday for a lab write-up. "I need a good grade in this class to get into dental school sweetie. But whatever you want. It is your birph-week" (dirty move...low blow...but not quite enough to convince me. He could do his write-up Tuesday).
So I defiantly asked what difference it really made whether we do it Tuesday or Thursday? What made one day any better than the other.
And he replied, "Thursday would just be anti-climactic. It's not the same celebrating something that's already come and gone. But really honey, it's whatever. you. want."
But I wasn't done asking questions.
"Parker...the only reason you would be this rigid about a date-change is if other people were involved. Who's coming?"
He paused for a moment. (haha! got him!) Only to come back with this...
"Oh babe...I'm sorry. I really didn't plan anything this year. It's been so crazy with work and school. I thought about calling your friends but I just never got around to it. If you want a party I can make some calls (this is on Monday night mind you...none of my friends would book it up to Salt Lake midweek on such short notice)."
I asked him a few more confirming questions, assured him that I was SO so happy to celebrate with just the two of us, and called off the hounds. This time my senses failed me...
...or did they?
Tuesday came around. I texted Parker to ask what time we needed to be to the restaurant (mostly to figure out whether the commercial breaks between Glee would leave me enough time to get ready).
He responded, "8 o'clock."
Cue suspicious move #2.
"When and why did we decide on 8?" I ask.
"I don't know. I just decided. Why not 8?"
I couldn't find a good reason so I decided I'd let it go and sit back and enjoy the show.
Parker comes home.
Cue suspicious move #3.
"Oh. I thought you'd be ready."
(sheepishly sets the remote on the floor) "Ya...ummm...Glee came on and I...ummm...got a little sidetracked. Just a sec."
I hustle into the bedroom, throw on my Shade closing sale steal, and run back out just as the last commercial ends.
"Babe...no more Glee. Let's go."
"But sweetie...you love it too! And it's my birth-week! What's the difference between 8 or 8:30?"
"I just want to get there. Come on! Settebello!!!"
I go over to give him a few x's and o's...hoping the affection might distract him long enough to buy me a couple more minutes.
"It's almost over!"
"This is a dumb one anyway," he kills the TV. "Let's go."
I eye him suspiciously for a moment, look for a motive, then chalk it up to our disappointment with a solid sixty percent of the episodes from Season 2 of Glee. He's right, I think, I don't know anything about Rocky Horror anyway. Might as well be on our way...
Our car conversations aren't anything out of the ordinary, though I do find it odd that he's decided to dwell on my accusing him of planning a party. He's not usually this apologetic...
Cue suspicious move #4.
"Babe, I really hope you don't think there's a bunch of people waiting there. It's really just you & me."
I remind him of how happy I am to be spending my birthday with just him. Company can be exhausting anyway...
"Really though...I don't want you to be disappointed. I'm sorry I got your hopes up."
I shoo shoo his apologies. We debate over whether it's 300 S. and 200 W. or vice versa. And before I know it we're there.
The hostess goes to seat us at a cozy 2-person table. I hang my purse on the back of the chair and take a seat. I keep waiting to hear the seat across from me scrape along the floor as Parker pulls out his chair. It never comes.
I look up and see that he's still standing.
Cue suspicious move #5.
Parker motions to a table near the back of the restaurant. It's decorated with a big bouquet of balloons and a dozen pink roses.
How on earth did he get it all here? His class doesn't let out until 7...
Cue suspicious move #6.
I continue to admire the table-setting as we make our way to the back when I'm distracted by the odd pair at the table directly behind ours.
Cue suspicious move #7.
They're sitting with their backs to us. Not odd. But what is odd is the way they're sitting. The are completely motionless. rigid. still.
And then it all comes clear...
I know that fluffy hair! I know that round, graying head! I know that jacket! I know the one person who always brings me flowers on my birthday! I know these people!
Here all the way from Sparks, NV. Just for my birthday!
We gave hugs. I offered a million-and-one expressions of disbelief. And then I turned to Parker...
"How did I not know this?!"
He laughed and they proceeded to tell me the story. My dad booked these flights months ago. He wanted to come in on a Tuesday so Parker and I could spend my actual birthday together.
Parker had no test Thursday...it was all just a hoax he invented to sell me on a day-before birthday dinner.
Mom worried all the time that I might hack into her email (as I sometimes do to retrieve forgotten passwords) and see their flights.
Dad kept our phone conversations short so he wouldn't slip up and tell me. (I'm so proud of him for pulling this one off...he NEVER does surprises. He's just always too excited to wait! Mom's had more early Christmas presents than any wife I know...).
Parker tried not to panic when I pulled the haircut stunt (He then apologized to my parents for showing up late. He didn't know how to put the ka-bosh on my Glee episode without being too obvious. Sadly my parents replied, "Oh we planned on it. We know our daughter!" Sad!!! I have my grandma's reputation...).
And everyone spent the day wondering if I'd already figured it all out (because it's rare that I fall for these kinds of things).
We spent the rest of the night chatting, laughing, and learning how to use Mom & Dad's new iPhones (I still can't get over the fact that my anti-technology/anti-texting Dad now owns an iPhone! I swear his phone prior to the upgrade still had the game "snake" on it).
My Mom & Dad teased about being a letdown surprise and promised me they'd be heading back home the next afternoon so I could celebrate my real birthday night however I wished.
And all I could think was, "If I could, I'd keep you here forever."
They are truly the best birthday surprise I've ever had. I'm not sure if they've realized it yet, but they are some of our very best friends. I LOVE my parents to pieces! And Parker does too. They are not only the most generous, selfless, and loving people & parents we know (in addition to Kristy & Tristan), but they are also HILARIOUS!
Dad Halloween 2010--Mom brought my Chick-fil-A blog to life with this clever cow costume.
I'm not sure why it took me so many years to realize it (I'm guessing it's because my brother's always been the funny-man in the family), but my mom and dad are the source of all our good senses of humor. I've always known my dad was a teaser because of the way he'd razz all my friends (and my mom too. Thinking back on it we all kind of ganged up on you...all in good fun though, you knew. We love you!).
Dad & his "kids"
But as I've grown up it's been my mom's humor that's surprised me most of all.
During our houseboat week this last summer my sister and I sat watching my friends vie for my mom's attention and just listened. My friends have always adored my parents. And while I understood why I loved them (and could see why my dad's generosity and mom's planning-abilities would keep the attention of my "mooch-face" [as dad jokingly calls them] friends), I sometimes wondered what it was about my parents that made my friends love their company too (sometimes even more than they loved mine).
My teenage sister (who is not yet to the age where you realize how amazing your parents really are) was the first to say it.
"Have you ever noticed that mom is actually really funny?"
At first glance my mom appears to be the ultra-nice, super sweet, makes-it-happen-for-her-kids-and-anyone-else-who-needs-her-help soccer mom. And she is all those things.
But if you listen, really closely, you'll start to realize. My brother Jason did not develop his killer-quick wit. He inherited it. Inherited it from none other than my smiling, innocent, sweet-as-pie Mom.
She's actually pretty sassy. And SO funny!!! But sweet at the same time. I wish I'd inherited her style of sarcasm. Mine tends to be more biting like my brother's...
ANYWAY...long story short, we have so. much. fun. spending time with them.
From watching my Dad rubberneck at a gang fight outside, to having my mom buy me an O-magazine just so I could take the "Find Your True Calling" quiz (her mom-radar must have picked up on my impending crisis mode), to hearing my non-tech savvy parents talking iPhones and Photoshop with Parker...we had a blast!!!
(Not to mention the fact that I finally figured out the root cause of my Nazi-like, picture-taking tendencies [my mom probably took 10+pictures of me with my balloons...which I am now grateful as they are the only evidence of this night]. Apple really doesn't fall far from the tree...)
We ended the night chatting away by the hotel fireplace, watching snow coat the Wasatch Valley floor. My parents spoiled me...absolutely spoiled me (pictures to come on the haul from both sides of the family...I'm so loved!). And while I used to deny it when my friends said that, I realize now it's entirely true.
I'm so thankful to them for coming all that way to make this birthday a special one. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to express to them how truly grateful I am for all that they do for me or repay them for all that they've done (though they wouldn't let me even if I tried).
I nearly cry every time we say goodbye because it's hard to give up that feeling of being loved so unconditionally, even for a short while.
They are amazing people. Amazing parents. And amazing friends. If you haven't made them yours yet you should. We all have quite a bit we can learn from the Dave & Robbi Whites of this world.
I love you Mom & Dad!
Thanks again for making this the best birth-week ever!