Birthdays are usually met with much fanfare in my family. To be more specific - birthdays for my daughter Melissa are usually met with much fanfare.
With each 12 month cycle, I threw out all of the stops to celebrate yet another milestone in my young daughter's life. A family party when she reached her first birthday, a clown to entertain the toddlers at age 2, a Chuck E. Cheese party at age 3, a swim party, a bowling party, a mini golf party and so on.
As she approached the teen years, the milestones became less monumental. Movies with a few friends...a day at the beach, until this year, her 17th birthday, when Melissa thought we had planned no celebration AT ALL.
I understand why she held onto that misguided assumption. On the day of her 17th birthday, July 1, she will board a plane en-route to a two week leadership camp sponsored by B'nai B'rith Youth Organization, (BBYO), an international organization for teens that focuses on community service, friendship, leadership, and Jewish heritage.
Since her departure date coincidentally fell on her birthday, she did not expect a big deal. In fact, she did not expect anything at all. And because of that lack of expectation, she spent the past week somewhat bummed, convinced that nobody would even remember her special day.
Unbeknownst to my baby girl, the covert operation "Surprise Melissa" had been in full swing for three week's time. In partnership with some of the best teenagers I have ever known, we devised a top secret plan to have Melissa spend the day at her friend Erica's house. My husband Bob and I nonchalantly told her we were going to a nice dinner to celebrate her birthday. Ho Hum...couldn't get more boring than that!
When my offspring finally walked out the door this afternoon, I sprung into action. Her friends came over, grabbed the decorations that had been safely tucked away from inquisitive eyes in the back of my closet, and turned my house into a party zone.
When Erica texted her secret code, "The eagle is flying", 10 teenagers stood at the ready, anxiously awaiting Melissa's reaction to a party she had no role in planning.
When Melissa opened the door, 10 teenagers shouted SURPRISE!
Melissa, you are the most wonderful thing to ever happen to me. On July 1, 1997 when I held you in my arms for that first magical time, I fell in love.....and that love grows ever deeper every time that I wake up and look at your beautiful face.
You have evolved into an incredible young lady, a gifted musician and a natural born leader who has an oh so compassionate heart. Happy 17th birthday my dear, sweet daughter.
YOU DESERVE IT!
|Celebrating a successful surprise party are (from l to r) Devon, Maggie, John, Erica, Tabitha, Gabby, Nick, Melissa, Sarah, John, Micaela, and Hayden (kneeling)
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