Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Surprises. Who loves surprises?

Some people love surprises. Some people hate them. As long as they don't cause loss of bladder control, I don't mind them at all. I'm all for them. Or at least I like to think so. I was never the child who opened my Christmas presents ahead of time so I knew what to expect under the tree. I save birthday cards and presents that arrive ahead of time for the actual day with nary a sideways look at them. When I was pregnant with my third child, I was perfectly content to wait until the little bugger arrived to find out what flavor baby we were getting. In short, I can happily anticipate surprises without ruining them. Not everyone is as virtuous as I am, I know. ;-)

And yet, I have a rather big birthday coming up and with all the subtlety of a freight train, I hinted openly and often how little I wanted a surprise party. Part of it is that fear of loss of bladder control (I did birth three babies after all) but a part of it is that I really think I appreciate anticipation more than I like surprises. After all, with presents and cards, I know they are coming (and even when I was small, I knew Santa was likely to overlook all but the most egregious sins) so it's really only the contents that were a surprise. And with the pregnancy, well, it would have been a surprise to give birth to a platypus but I was reasonably assured that I was indeed going to end up with a human baby so again it was just the pertinent bits that were going to be a surprise and since I already had one of each variety, the third wasn't going to throw me for any loops (at least not in terms of sex, little did I know how many other loops he was destined to create!).

With this birthday, until I took over, I had no idea whether there was even going to be a party. (Well, okay, I did know as my husband is quite lousy at keeping secrets but I didn't want the pressure of pretending to be surprised or to sound like an ungrateful brat when I admitted I was not in the slightest caught unawares. It sounds so insufferably smug to say, "Well, I didn't know which day he was planning on having the party," and heaven knows I can come off as insufferably smug often enough to not need yet another occasion for my friends to seriously wonder about me.) Of course now I've stuck myself in it since I just wanted to know that a party was happening. I didn't really want to have to help plan it and to weigh-in on every little thing. See, it's the details that I want to be a surprise. What do I want the food to look like? As long as there's no seafood, no mushrooms, and no olives, I don't care. Surprise me! What should the dress code be? Not formal but other than that, I don't care. Surprise me! Where should it be? When should it be? Who should be invited? I don't care. Surprise me! There's going to be a party. I'm happy. If all of you folks want to come to it, call my hubby. He's in charge. And you can totally keep your attendance a surprise from me. Well, unless you think it might make me wet myself. Then I'll need a little heads up.

I wrote today's post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour for Letter from Home by Kristina McMorris ( This debut novel is the story of three young women during World War II and the identity misunderstandings they and the men in their lives have. Ask yourself: Can a soldier fall in love with a woman through letters? and What happens if the woman writing the letters is different from the woman he met the might before he shipped out, the woman he thought was writing the letters? Is it still love or just a lie?

Like many authors, Kristina has had a wild selection of "real jobs" everything from wedding planner to actress to publicist. She finally added novelist to the list after Kristina got a peek at the letters her grandfather wrote to his sweetheart(a.k.a. Grandma Jean)while he was serving in the Navy during World War II. That got her wondering how much two people could truly know each other just from letter writing and became the nugget of her novel.

In honor of her grandparents, and all the other families kept apart by military service, Kristina is donating a portion of her book's profits to United Through Reading, a nonprofit organization that video records deployed U.S. military personnel reading bedtime stories to their children. You can learn more about the program at United Through Reading.

If you comment on today's post on this blog or any of the others participating in Everybody's Talking About Surprises, you'll be entered to win a special surprise prize! It includes a personalized copy of Letters from Home, a Big Band CD, Victory Garden seeds, and more. To read Kristina's post about surprises and a list of other blogs participating in Everybody's Talking about Surprises visit The Muffin.


  1. What a delightful post! I'm better at orchestrating surprises than my husband is and I'm no stranger to how those 'big' birthdays demand celebration. There's a certain relief you convey wonderfully -- yes, you know you're celebrating, and, yes, you'll even get some surprises. Nothing like some birthday joy between book review posts. Happy Birthday.

  2. Of course it's possible to fall in love through letters. The internets are one big lovefest, aren't they? (!)

    A wife and mother deserves some surprises; we shouldn't have to plan every detail all the time.

  3. congrats have a great party!!

  4. Great Post! Wonderful humor! I actually read visited this morning and came back to read it again.

  5. LOVE the post, Kristen. You definitely made me laugh -- though, thankfully, not to the point of bladder malfunction. Thanks so much for participating in the tour!

  6. A wonderful posting :P)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  7. I love how you waited to find out what "flavor" of baby you were having--me too. Hardly anyone does that anymore. I wonder why, it's one of the few true surprises left in the world.


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