I am patting myself on the back right now.  I have learned that I can throw together a surprise birthday party in one week’s time. 

Yesterday was Huh’s 18th birthday.  For about a month I had been asking her what she wanted for her birthday.  And for a month all I kept getting out of her was, “I dunno.”  One week before her birthday I hit upon the idea of giving her a surprise party since she didn’t seem to know what she wanted.  It was the perfect time to have a party, too, because her birthday fell on President’s Day so there would be no school.  An afternoon surprise party would work quite well, I thought.

I immediately enlisted the help of others:  A couple of key people at her old high school to contact friends there, one of the girls from her current softball team to contact team members, a couple of friends from her current high school to contact people there, and Mack, whom I assigned to contact cousins and friends of Huh’s that attend other high schools. 

Mack’s assignment was the hardest.  She had to try to get Huh’s cell phone from her so that we could find the contact information for some of her friends.  Huh is rarely without her phone.  She gets quite tense if she doesn’t have her phone with her, something I’ve written a little about in a previous post.  Poor Mack.  It caused her a lot of stress to be assigned to get the phone.  “Mom, I can’t do it.  She never puts the phone down.  If she’s not holding it then it’s in her back pocket.  How am I supposed to get it from her if that’s where it is?”  I just told her to be diligent.  We needed those numbers.

Finally, after three days, Huh happened to place her phone on the kitchen counter after school while she looked for a snack to eat.  Mack grabbed the phone and shoved it down her shirt and ran out of the kitchen.  I happened to be coming down the hall when Mack came running out of the kitchen.  In a split second she had the phone out of her shirt and shoved it toward me.  It ended up going down into my shirt and Mack ran back into the kitchen giggling.  I spun on my heal and ran up the stairs to my bedroom, locked the door, retrieved the phone from my shirt and immediately began scrolling through the contact list.  I was surprised at how many contacts she had listed in there.  Who is that?  Which Caleb is that?  Is this the right Alex?  Omigosh, I don’t know half of these people!  I knew I only had seconds before Huh would miss her phone. With paper and pencil in hand I quickly wrote the five numbers I was certain I wanted and then tucked the phone into my back pocket and went back down to the kitchen.  Huh still had her head buried in the fridge.  I had no idea where Mack had grabbed the phone from so I placed it on one of the side counters and hoped that Huh hadn’t really paid attention to where she’d laid her phone.  Whew!  I was so grateful that none of Huh’s friends tried to call or text her during those few moments!  I’m not sure what I would have done if the phone had gone off while it was in my possession.

Trying to keep the party a secret was quite a task.  Whenever a party guest would call or text Mack or my cell phone to ask questions or let us know they were coming we would have to get up and leave the room.  I ended up putting my phone into the silent mode so that Huh wouldn’t know when I had received a text or call.  The only people I usually text are my kids and sometimes one of my sisters, so for me to be receiving so many texts suddenly seemed a little odd to Huh.  Mack’s bedroom became the dropping place for party decorations and food that didn’t need to be refrigerated.  Once Huh saw me and Hub unloading some groceries and she spotted the trays of cheese we’d gotten for the party.  “Why on earth did you get so much cheese?”

Hub, thinking quickly, said, “We are going to freeze it.”

I followed with, “Yeah, it was on sale at a really good price  so we decided to get it to freeze for food storage.”

Huh bought it. 

On the day of the party I got up early so that I could get everything loaded into the car before Huh woke up.  I baked her the lemon poppy seed muffins that she’d requested for her birthday breakfast and made a few quick phone calls to guests who needed directions to the party location–our church.  Huh slept in a little and then treated herself to a lazy morning of eating muffins in front of the tv.  I told her I was taking her siblings shopping for her birthday and that when we got back I would take her shopping and then out to lunch.  Of course, the kids and I weren’t really shopping, we went to the church and began setting up for the party.  I ran to the store to get a few last minute items and got stuck in the line with the world’s slowest checker.  Mack kept calling me in a panic saying that guests were arriving and she didn’t know what she was supposed to have them do.  I gave her a few instructions and then called Hub and told him to tell Huh that it was our turn to clean the church and that he was leaving to go do that and that the rest of us were already at the church waiting for him.  Again, Huh bought the story.

Once I dropped off the rest of the stuff at the church I rushed to get Huh, telling her that someone had made a huge mess in the bathrooms of the church and that we needed more bathroom cleaners.  I told her that we were just going to drop the cleaners off at the church and then the two of us would go shopping.  Meanwhile, at the church, the guests all got into position to jump out and scare Huh.  One of the guests predicted that she would call them all stupid or something once they’d all jumped out.

The first words out of Huh’s mouth after everyone had yelled surprise were, “You guys are so dumb!”  Everyone laughed.  The prediction had come pretty close.

The party went well.  The food was enjoyed (and we had enough), the game was the perfect mixer to help kids from different high schools get to know each other, and the memories shared of  Huh were hilarious.  Huh later gave me a hug and thanked me.  I told her to call me the Party Kween!  She just laughed.

A party planned in one week’s time.  Yeah, I deserve a pat on the back…or at least a piece of cake.