21 September 2013


As is tradition here in the Den, I've made it a point to post about the birthdays that are important here and to do so on said birthday. I am a day late, but what follows is a recap of yesterday's birthday shenanigans. The celebrant? Me. So settle in, as this is a long one:

The quick back story on my 47th birthday involves my mother, who turns 80 next week. 80 is a big deal, right? A few weeks ago, my brother and sister and I were talking about an appropriate way to celebrate and they suggested we get together as siblings and surprise my mom. Knowing she would be out of town on her birthday, we decided to do it on my birthday, one week earlier. So plans were made, tickets were purchased and before we knew it, it was the morning of the 20th and the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and I hightailed it out of Connecticutistan Friday morning, a mere eight hours after my inflight drama the night before. Speaking of that fun-filled flight, as we left the gate, I saw that plane on another tarmac, looking forlorn as it was clearly and rightfully out of service.

We got to the inferno that is Phoenix by 11AM (seriously, 104 degrees...it's September and there is no need for that kind of heat insanity) and due to Martha Stewart's apparent ban on Mexican food where we currently reside, we wasted no time in getting to Tia Rosa's, a Mexican place we frequented when we lived here. Those thin chips and green and red salsas were screaming our names. We must have looked like starving refugees to our fellow diners, given the ferocity with which we assaulted the chips. Anyway, we settled into our meal when this happened:

Holy Mother of Surprises!
Into the restaurant walked the Awesomes! As is now my wont, I began to cry like a little girl, and I admit that without shame, as I saw my daughter, my son-in-law, and my grandson. Suffice to say, a scene was made. They had chosen to come down from behind the Zion Curtain and surprise me for my birthday and it was amazing. The stunningly patient and mighty fine SML had pulled off yet another coup! How lucky am I?

As we wound down our meal, our waitress asked if we needed anything else and I asked for the check. She said it had been taken care of. I immediately turned to my son-in-law, Awesome, to reprove him for buying the meal (he'd slipped out for a second as we were eating). It wasn't him. The waitress told us that the man at the the table behind us had bought our meal. We were, to quote my Brit friends, gobsmacked. We went to his table and thanked him. He and his wife were so kind, just said they wanted to do it. He even got to hold Benson, who let down his current 'stranger danger' freak out mode, for just a moment. As we thanked them, we promised to pay it forward.

It was then time to move on to the real reason for our visit, surprising my mom. My brother had told her that he and his wife would be picking her up at 4:00PM to go to dinner. Much like Florida, dining early is totally normal in AZ, with its 'older' population. So we get to her house, and she doesn't answer the door. Repeated bell ringing and door knocking, and nothing. So I call her, and I've clearly woken her up, and tell her that there's a delivery company calling me saying that they are at her door with a package. She continued talking to me as she walked to her door. She opened the door, and it was priceless. Clearly, surprise #1 had been pulled off.

Once things settled down, we explained the next phase of the surprise, which was dinner with her children. She was truly taken aback by all of this. It was fun to listen to her say repeatedly as we drove to Scottsdale, 'I just can't believe this.' My brother had selected a great steak house, brought roses for her, and it was great to be together. The meal was well worth it and just seeing my mom take it all in was worth it all.

The birthday folks

Mom and her clan
During dinner, we revealed the next round of surprises for her, which is a get together today at her house with her children, grandchildren that are local, and now, thanks to the Awesomes', her great-grandchild. Pretty cool stuff.

Suffice to say, I think both my mom and I will say that birthday surprises are pretty good. No, they are amazing. I am more blessed than I deserve. Now, I need to go figure out how to pay it forward...

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