It's March! That means that I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge. I am happy to co-host this event with the team at Two Writing Teachers. Everyone is welcome!
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Slice of Life- 25 of 31: Keeping a secret-- and telling one!
For a few days, I had a secret. I don't like secrets.
"I know I'm the friend who makes the plans," my daughter Julia had said on the day before her birthday, "but still, you'd think they could do something for my birthday."
But birthdays are tricky these days. I'm sure I don't have to do more than acknowledge the limitations around the social gatherings that many people associate with birthdays. Julia's in an especially tricky place since she chose to take the semester off from college, her college is within 40 minutes of our house, and her friends are still all living in the house they share. Even with facetimes and group messaging and zoom, that's a lot of potential FOMO.
On Friday, I was relieved when her two closest friends texted that they were coming for lunch on Julia's birthday. That way she wouldn't suspect anything, they figured.
When I got home from work, I asked Jules how it was. Fine. (I hate that answer.) I wanted to ask more. I wanted to also tell her that there was more to come. I wanted to tell her that she has really good friends. I couldn't though. I'd risk giving away a secret. (Remember, I'm not a fan of secrets.)
My husband told Julia he had a meeting yesterday, and he asked her if she could stay home and meet the invisible fence guy between two and four-- he has yet to call the guy, but Julia didn't know that.
I wasn't home when they showed up, but the surprise was real. As was their house tradition, they brought matching pajamas for everyone, and one of them dressed Julia in a blindfold so she could dress her without Julia knowing what was being put on.
They decorated, waiting for her to enter the kitchen.
They brought muffins and cupcakes and presents and champagne.
And they all sat down and painted pots-- which Julia loves to do-- and sipped champagne-- although not Julia-- and laughed--and it felt maybe a little normal.
At 5:30, Julia had to leave for her all night EMT shift so I haven't gotten to process it all with her yet, but I'm sure she was pleased. How could she not be? That being said, my mixed and complicated feelings about secrets remain. Would she have been happier with a party to look forward to?
My best friend's father used to tell us that the secret to being happy is to have something you love to do, people you love to do things with, and things to look forward to. That is a secret I like, and one I won't keep.