Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Family History: The Birthday We Surprised Mom at Yellowstone

Tuesday, I wrote about the surprise that awaited my mom at Yellowstone.  Because I wrote that post ahead of the actual event, I thought today I would let you know what really happened last Saturday.

Spoiler alert:  We succeeded in surprising Mom!


Dad had told us he and Mom would be at Old Faithful at 1:35 p.m. on Saturday.  The plan was that my sister, my brother, and I, along with our families (15 people in total), would sneak up on my Mom and surprise her.  It was a great plan in theory, but we soon learned that the execution would prove a bit trickier. 

First of all, the timing caused us worry.  We needed to arrive on time, trust Dad and Mom would arrive on time, and hope we wouldn't somehow run into them in the parking lot.  We managed to make it across the parking lot, hushed the children, and approached Old Faithful.

We scanned the crowd, looking for Mom's signature hat.  We couldn't find her, but we spotted Dad's telltale suspenders and camera tripod.  The woman next to him looked like Mom, albeit without her floppy-rimmed hat.

We reminded the kids to "fall behind," as my brother, sister, and I took the lead, tip-toeing stealthily toward our parents.  As we made our way closer, suddenly they turned around and started walking toward the other end of the seating area.  Fortunately, we were among trees at the time--not out in the open--and we quickly hit the ground.  We shook with quiet laughter, hoping Mom wouldn't notice 15 people in matching t-shirts trying to look inconspicuous.

Here we are, hiding among the trees, trying to decide how we were going to carry out the surprise.
We eventually decided to leave the shelter of the trees and approach the other side of the Old Faithful viewing area.  We sneaked toward Mom and Dad, as only 15 excited, giggling people can.  Dad found a seat, but Mom continued down the boardwalk, trying to scope out the best location for photographing the geyser.  We decided we needed to act quickly, or we'd be stalking Mom for who-knew-how-long.  

We broke into a rousing, "Happy Birthday" song (we were celebrating my parents' 50th anniversary a month early, but it also happened to be Mom's birthday), and Mom turned around.  It took a second for her to recognize that the song was for her, and that we were actually there.  

The surprise happened on Saturday, and the days following have been filled with laughter, game-playing, hiking, wildlife-viewing, star-gazing, and white-water rafting.  We have all had a great time!

Have you ever been part of a surprise gathering?

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Thanks for family and surprises!

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8 comments:

  1. So glad this was a success! I wasn't sure when the actual surprise was to happen so I was concerned this AM when they said on the news that they had closed parts of Yellow Stone yesterday to do grizzly attacks. Glad you're all safe and glad your Mom got such a wonderful surprise.

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  2. Awesome! Once we all surprised my brother on his doorstep for his 30th birthday. The kicker is that he lived in Vegas and my husband and I were in SF and the rest of the family was in New Jersey. So we drove and they all flew and at midnight on his birthday, we just knocked on his door. He was floored.
    What kind of wildlife did you see at Yellowstone?

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  3. How fun!

    The photos are great, especially the second one, as it captures the anticipation.

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  4. How I would have loved to be whitness!!!
    Great to read y'all had a wonderful time together. Nothing beats family-time like that!

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  5. I'm so glad that it worked out for you and your family. I bet she was really surprised!

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  6. Nice work! I'm sure that was a monstrous surprise for her, and loads of fun for the kids.

    We surprised my dad for his 50th birthday, but it was a simple party in my grandma's basement. My co-workers threw a surprise baby shower for me. My husband has never lived down letting me walk out of the apartment, thinking I was simply going to a movie, in a big, old T-shirt and jean shorts. I had to wear a corsage and everything, dressed completely inappropriately.

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  7. You deserve an award for pulling this off! What a cool story!

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  8. Hi Kristi :)
    Thank you for commenting on my blog - yes, we have much to be thankful for indeed :)
    I'm so glad you had a wonderful reunion with your family - it's a precious thing, in our fast-moving world, isn't it? :)

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Thanks for making this a conversation. I love to hear your comments!