It could have been more elaborate. We could have tied bows around our waists and arrived at her self thrown 70th birthday cocktail party. But we didn't. We giggled outside her condo door as we waited for our stepfather to explain his three hour absence to my mother, to fib and say he was at the driving range when he was really waiting for my sister and me at the airport. Three knocks on the door later and the three of us were jumping up and down in ridiculous glee, basking in the success in the grand ruse of my sister and me surprising our mother in St. Augustine, Florida, the day before her 70th birthday.
This surprise was a year in the making. From the moment she turned 69 we began thinking about what we could do with our beloved mother to help her celebrate her special birthday. From casually suggesting the three of us going away somewhere to the confirming of the flights back in November. It would be my sister and I, sans families, eager to embrace our mother in one giant hugorama.
We spent four and half days together, just hanging out, eating out, drinking a couple of glasses(bottles) of white wine and laughing always, usually about my tender post-vasectomy testicles. I was even lucky enough to play golf with my stepfather and a couple of his cronies in the middle of February. Life is so beautiful. My golf swing is so not.
Funny thing about our arrival, which we caught on video, is my mother, upon realizing it was just my sister and me travelling alone, blurted out "oh that's so much better!" This was an instinctual comment as she was immediately concerned on how she could appropriately host the accompanying maelstrom of five kids and four adults in their large - but not that large - condo.
But somewhere she was happy it was just us because it was just us. It was not five grandkids, ages 6-17, clamouring for her attention (which she usually gives in spades). It was about her just hanging out with the two children that she pushed out of her body 46 and 43 years ago respectively. It was about the reconnecting, reminiscing and remembering what we all mean to each other. How blessed we are to have this strong of a relationship or, thankfully, the availability of a relationship at all.
Sister tried to shut me out of her selfie.
This was a once in a lifetime type of surprise. We had not done anything like this for our mother or ourselves in the past and unlikely we would even attempt anything similar in the future. It was so worth it.
Love you Mitch! Love you Ma!