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Monday, November 14, 2011

Surprise! It's a Good Thing?

GBE2  Week #26

Who doesn't love a good surprise?  Well, I might raise my hand, if asked.  I like to know what's going to happen and when and who else will be there and how long it will last.  I could go on and on because I like to know what's on the agenda.  I'm a planner and a scheduler.  So, while  I don't necessarily care what is happening, I do want to know.

There is one exception that comes immediately to mind when someone says anything about surprising anyone with anything.  I remember when I was expecting and in those days it was a 50-50 guess as to the sex of your unborn child.  Had the technology been available to me, for sure I would have asked to be told.  Since it did not exist, I was left to be surprised.

I clearly remember being very sure that my first baby was a girl.  I never really doubted it, though I did choose a boy name, just in case.  The second time, I was pretty sure nothing was like my first pregnancy and so I thought PERHAPS it could be a boy, but I never felt sure.  I did have a girl first and I did have a boy second.  I was not surprised by the first one, I was very surprised by the second.  Probably the only really great surprise in my life until 1988.

I was working in the salon and had been telling my co-workers how disappointed I was that my son wouldn't be home for the holidays for the first time ever.  Maybe in January he could make it home, he would let us know.  He had enlisted and had left for his basic training in Florida the September prior.  Four days or so into his training he had turned 18.  He had notified me earlier in this week that he didn't have the money or much time for a trip all the way back to Michigan for Christmas.  I was very sad, but knew that being in the service meant he would miss a Christmas or more, depending on his deployment orders.  He was in the Navy, so his ship could conceivably be anywhere on December 25 for the next 4 years.  I tried to be prepared for this, but it was weighing on me.  I'm not as tough as some assume.

It was early afternoon when someone entered the salon.  My back was to the front door because I was busily combing out a regulars hairdo and deep in conversation.  I turned my head slightly toward the door and got a glimpse of a tall man in black at the door.  I welcomed him and then turned to fully face him while I instructed him to sign in and someone....
I stopped in the middle of that thought because standing inside the door of my salon was my 6'2" (or so) all grown up son wearing his "Johnny Cash" uniform.

He wanted to surprise me.  He chose this uniform because it was my favorite, the dress blues.  He never wore his uniform while on leave, I mean never.  He used to tell me that if I had to wear a uniform 7 days a week daylight to dark and sometimes beyond, I wouldn't wear one when it was optional, either.  I wanted him to wear it everywhere because I thought he looked magnificent in uniform, especially the dress blues.  The dress blues were totally black, head to toe and thus the nickname of the "Johnny Cash" uniform by the sailors.  

I remember, still, all these years later exactly how I felt in that moment.  First, I knew there was a God and he loved me. Second, I had never loved that man in the doorway more than at that moment. Third, As happy as I was, I still didn't like being surprised.  Fourth, no matter how 'in control' I think I am, I cry when I see my son.

Had I known he was coming, I would have had all his favorite foods in the house.  I didn't.  I would have baked something for him, I hadn't.  I would have gotten out of work early to go pick him up, which I hadn't.  

It was a fabulous surprise, but it ultimately put pressure on me to get all those things done for him AFTER his arrival and I wanted now to be free to take him back to the airport, when the visit was over.  I loved that he wanted to see my face when I saw him.  I loved that he went to all the trouble to arrange his transportation without telling me or my roomy.  I loved mostly, that he would be home for Christmas.

I also loved the U.S. Navy for knowing I really wanted my baby back home for the holidays and making that possible.




  1. Okay, you made me cry --- again.
    I really like this one. You perfectly described -- and we've talked about it several times -- the way both of us feel about surprises. Don't really care what the plan is, but we want to know ahead of time what the plan is.

  2. What an amazing story!! What a wonderful surprise to have your son home for Christmas!! I can certainly understand then being freaked out because of having nothing special ready for him. I would have been the same way. Wonderful story, wonderful blog, wonderful surprise!! I love it!


  3. Pat...I know! It was such a wonderful moment, but then I had to make his visit perfect by doing all those things! lol Thanks and sorry I made you cry. I love you.

    Kathy...Thank you Kathy. He is such a gift to me as an adult child. As a teenage child, not so much! But the trials were worth the pay off.

  4. What a wonderful surprise. I totally get this because I miss my kids terribly!


  5. Joyce...Me 2 and Christmas is really losing it's appeal for me since they don't all come here anymore. With their own children, they all want to stay home on Christmas and Christmas Eve they are with their inlaws. It kinda sucks.

  6. Oh Jo - you just made me cry! What a wonderful memory to have - I'm sure that Christmas was amazing.

  7. Laura...I'm sorry I made you cry. It was a fantastic moment, no doubt about that. He is such a sweet man and has since given me a beautiful new daughter-in-law and two perfectly perfect grandbabies! And one of them is my only grandson!

  8. GpD, just "sigh"? Good sigh or sad sigh?

  9. Best. Surprise. Ever.

  10. Beth...It really was. Thanks.

  11. Fourth, no matter how 'in control' I think I am, I cry when I see my son.

    ok that teared me up too!! AWESOME POST

  12. Brenda...Thank you so much. It was a once in a life time for me.


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