Like most Singaporeans, I am apathetic towards surprises. I kinda like to know what to expect. Besides, if you want to surprise someone over forty, you better check the health status of the person you are surprising. But a GOOD surprise never hurts anyone, except in a Bollywood or Chinese drama.
For my birthday this year , my family decided to surprise me. The timing couldn’t be better for them. I had a weekend of training workshops scheduled and our helper was away on a two-week vacation, which meant that I will be kept busy doing all the house chores – cooking, cleaning, washing, you name it, I have to do it.
My first surprise was finding a piece of paper with a “loose” mind map of my Celebration Day – a term coined by my husband to celebrate special days – that he had drawn out with the kids. Oh, my husband was so annoyed.
Next, I accidentally stumbled across his phone messages with my friends. HE was really CROSS with me. Honestly, I wasn’t snooping, just cleaning!
Throwing a party is easy – you arrange the food, the entertainment, the drinks, bala-boom, bala-bang and you’re done. Throwing a SURPRISE party on the other hand, well, that’s hard. You’ve got to coordinate with your guests, organize all the party arrangements and make sure there are no leaks, especially with a five and seven-year-old.
I tell ya, throwing a surprise party is no mean feat for an experienced mom, what more for an inexperienced dad - it’s a HUGE challenge!
I was so touched by how hard they were working to keep the secret from me that I felt I had to help them along and ALLOW myself to be surprised. It’s the maternal instinct I tell you.
I actively ignored their conspiring glances and not-so-quiet whispers. I announced loudly my movements in the house – “I’m going to the bedroom now!” or “I’m going to the living room to watch TV.” And I repeatedly refuse to open any pieces of paper left accidentally on the table or floor.
All in all, they were very successful in pulling off a great Celebration Day that started with a lovely lunch at Pietra Santa Restaurant, followed by a fun time at the beach and ended with a FANTASTIC surprise party at 1 TwentySix restaurant.
The kids insisted that I was blind-folded whenever we travelled from one destination to the next. And they were very sweet about entertaining me on the journey since I was blind-folded. It really was very blissful knowing that they didn’t know that I know.
There were minor hiccups along the way, like when my daughter, 5, asked her Dad about the cake while I was still in the car. Or her references to the water park, followed by a quick denial that that was NOT our destination. And I could feel the stress of my hubby as he navigated through the unexpected traffic jam along East Coast Expressway (ECP) in the evening.
My 7-year-old did a fabulous job holding in the secret, until the final hour when he couldn’t contain his excitement at seeing his friends Julian and Tahlia, he blurted out their names. Ooops!
What surprised me most, was that when you allow yourself to be surprised, you’ll discover how much love and happiness you feel coming to you. So, the next time you KNOW that your kids or hubby are planning to surprise you, LET them.
Read more about my surprise lunch at Two-Star Michelin Restaurant, Shinji by Kanesaka.