As many of you will know, my wife is currently rather pregnant.
So expecting is she that at this stage when Sophie was on her way, she’d already arrived. Technically, even though baby’s due date isn’t for another 12 days, we’re thinking it’s late.
It hasn’t really timed its arrival particularly well either – D-day is the day after my wife turns 30. Happy Birthday!
With that in mind then, I’d been operating under the cloak of not having to organise anything for her birthday as she was planning on being pretty tied up.
Little did she know…
Back in July, when I was knee deep in the manoeuvrings of a surprise Anniversary – it was awesome – I was also secretly putting together a 30th birthday list for her.
I contacted a series of family and friends with a Save the Date and firm instructions to “Watch this space.” Meanwhile, my partner-in-crime Annie approached the idea with my wife.
The genius cover story? A low-key baby shower in early October to welcome in the new baby with a small collection of church mums and friends. Despite not being a particularly big fan of baby showers, my wife was really touched by Annie’s willingness to organise one.
Ah ha. The bait had been hooked and she’d swallowed it, hook line and sinker.
Over the next two months, Annie fed her the odd bit of information about the baby shower – all highly low-key of course – while I casually asked the odd question here and there about it. She suspected nothing.
Indeed, for all she knew, Sophie and I were heading off to a toddlers event at the local library on the Saturday afternoon to get out of the house!
I planned the food while at a football match in early September and everyone agreed to bring a contribution. Years of watching Bring n Share lunches at church worked an absolute treat as it meant we had no special food in the house, no organisation and people would simply bring it along.
The best bit was watching Annie organise for Jess to leave the house for an hour and a half before 3pm in order for her to “prepare for the baby shower”. Casually suggesting Jess should disappear – with me – at half one was well received with no hard and fast rule when to come back. “About 3?” Annie tentatively offered.
All carefully stage-managed and choreographed but performed to perfection.
So, at half one on the Saturday, Jess and I disappeared off for a drink leaving Annie in charge. People arrived in droves after we’d gone, transforming the house from normality to a party place, fit for children and adults alike. Photos were splashed across the walls, balloons draped across every available light fitting, food gathered and organised. The plan worked perfectly.
Meanwhile, we were having a great time at the pub catching up and simply chatting. My stomach was in knots but I kept composed and the baby shower hardly came up. I was very conscious not to look at my watch even though I was desperate to know how long we had.
It was only at 2.55pm as she got up to leave that she uttered, “I feel like there’s something more and that you know something.” I allowed myself a wry smile and said nothing. Soon enough, I thought.
We drove back to our house where the instructions to park elsewhere had been followed brilliantly. She saw my mum’s car, our sister-in-law’s, Annie’s. Little did she know how many were in the house. They’d even hidden all the shoes upstairs in a wonderful touch of secrecy.
Finally, we headed inside. My wife first. As we went into the lounge, a mass of people erupted with “Surprise!” and a raucous rendition of “Happy Birthday!”. She was overwhelmed. It had worked exactly as I’d planned and the party was a true success.
And the best bit about it now? She’s not even 30 yet nor has she had the baby. She’s had a darn good party though!
Special thanks to Annie for coordinating and to everyone who came and provided things. You’re all amazing!