Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Birthday Surprise

When August comes, September can not be far behind! I know it rather well because August is the month when my son was born and September, when my daughter was born. So when planning for the first birthday party begins, the other one is already on my mind. This year my son turned 4 and after having been to some of the parties in the last few months, he had been asking for a birthday party. So we held a birthday party for him and invited all his friends. On the day of his birthday, my father-in-law called up in the morning and told me "Make sure my grand-daughter has also a party of the same scale". She is her first and I think his most favorite grand-child. "Of course" I told him "whatever she wants".

After my son's party got over, I asked her how she wanted to go about this year. She said she was still thinking. On 7th September, she went for an outstation school trip for 4 days and came back only on 10th September. Before going, she settled for a camera for a birthday gift from her dad and got it well before the trip. After she was back and well rested, I asked her again "Now tell me where do you want to celebrate your birthday party? Are you inviting only the girls or the entire class?" I was prepared that she may want a grander party this year, considering turning ten, a double digit age is something more special. "I don't want to hold a birthday party this year, not inviting  friends" she replied. I was dumbfounded. Last year, the planning and preparations for the birthday party had lasted for a month before the actual date. We had spent days deciding the theme and games and return gifts. "May be a trip hangover" I thought and kept quiet. Two days later I checked again "So shall we book a place for a party or you want to hold the party at home?" She was quick to reply "At home, mom. But only with family". I was puzzled. "Are you sure?"I asked "No kids around. Just the four of us?". She smiled "Well, can I call my cousins over?". I nodded, still feeling confused.

On 17th morning, just a day before her birthday I sat puzzled. "May be I should arrange a surprise party and call all her class friends over". I discussed with my husband and told him that I am feeling odd that she is not having a proper birthday party. He was cool about it "It's nothing odd". In the evening,  she casually remarked "So tomorrow is my birthday. I hope you are planning surprises for me". That's when I felt really nervous. "She is expecting surprises?". This was tricky! Planning a normal birthday party was hard work but more straightforward. I was completely clueless. At that time, I really empathized with guys who have to plan surprises for their girlfriends. While she was busy playing, I quickly checked with her "So what is your favorite color these days". I have learned that kids especially girls change their favorite color quite frequently and its always a good idea to check it out regularly. At one time, she almost worshiped pink color. Few years later, in a clothes shop, when I suggested a pink jacket for her, I was told "Come on Mom, Pink is for babies". That is when she bought black jacket and many items in black color. "Lilac. Mom. That light purple shade" she replied.

"Hmm...she wants to be surprised" I thought "A little lady after all". Before going to bed, I decided  I would pick flowers for her in the morning before she woke up. "Light purple carnations" I thought "she would love them". In the morning, I was still uneasy about the surprise part. It was like going through an exam. "What if she does not approve of the surprise?" Towards the end of the yoga class, as I lay down in Shavasan, my mind was still working actively "What if the shop does not have lilac colored flowers?". When I entered the flower shop, my fear came true. Lilac carnations were not in stock. I decided to take a chance. Dark pink carnations, not the baby pink color and yellow chrysanthemum. But I specifically asked for a light purple ribbon. That guy made a big flower from that ribbon and decorated the bouquet. I wrote a personal note on a card and he stuck it on the bouquet too. "Chocolate" I thought "would be a good addition". So with a Cadbury Silk chocolate in one hand and the flowers in the other, I rang the bell. She came to open the door and gave me a wonderful smile looking at me carrying the things. I gave her a tight hug, picked her up and took her in my arms. Picking her up (गोदी में लेना) is a difficult task these days, but it was a special occasion and she deserved it.

She liked the flowers and arranged them in a vase, but she loved the purple ribbon flower the most. Her best friend made a surprise visit and she played with her for a couple of hours before her cousins, and other relatives arrived. Unlike other days, she gave an un-inhibited tight hug to her grandmother. He grandmother gave her money this time as she wanted her to spend the way she liked. My daughter appreciated the fact that she was being trusted with taking care of the money and choosing to buy what she wanted.

All the cousins had a great time playing with each other. We ordered pizza for the kids. She cut the cake and celebrated the day at home with extended family.

In the evening, we took her to a mall so that she could pick up birthday presents for herself. She picked a night-dress and a hairband. My son was also enthusiastic about giving a gift to her and getting a return gift.  They discussed amongst each other and decided on the gifts from each other. She selected a small pouch meant for keeping traveling toiletries. It also had a few small empty bottles for keeping cream, shampoo. She has a fascination for creams, shampoos and perfumes these days. He selected a toy camera.

At night, she told me this was the best birthday she has had. I know kids tend to exaggerate their feelings but she did look peaceful and contented. I must say, the fact that she chose to spend the day with her family and cousins was very re-assuring at some level. And I also learned that to her a surprise did not mean a big thing, but her parents giving a thought to her interests and desires. A day when they make efforts to make her feel special. And of course lots and lots of love and attention from her mother.  I don't know about her, but she certainly gave me a big surprise this year!

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