Saturday, May 7, 2011

The anatomy of a surprise

I love surprises. I love the planning and the sneakiness and especially the reactions of people when you pull it off. Just a couple months ago my friend Angie and I surprised our friend Kristen with Angie herself. They hadn't seen each other for almost a year and a half. I thought Kristen's jaw was going to fall off her face. It was awesome.

A couple weeks ago, my brother in law, Martin, texted me to ask if I could watch my nieces on Mother's Day so he could take my sister out. Unfortunately, I had plans already, so I suggested a Saturday overnight instead. Martin quickly made the reservations, probably so I couldn't change my mind ;) Then came the waiting. This is the planting seeds phase. I watched the girls for the day last weekend, and was joking about how it wouldn't happen again until next year. When Emily inquired about my weekend plans, I told her it was cleaning day, but I might need to come to laundry. She had no clue. None. I got up this morning and did not clean. Whoops. I texted Emily to see when they were going to be home so I could do laundry. A couple minutes later I received a text from Martin that read, "She suspects nothing." We're like surprise ninjas. I arrived home before the family did and Emily stood outside as I took my laundry inside. "Whoops, I forgot something in my car," I said, and got my duffel from the car. Emily suspected nothing. Martin and I looked at each other and shrugged. I made a show of turning around and locking my car, duffel in full view. "Man, it's so nice. I just want to stay out," Emily commented. "Well then let's go out," Martin said. Blank stare from Emily. This is about when I started laughing. Emily finally caught on. "You guys are both dorks," is about the extent of the comments we received. Could have been much worse :P All in all, pretty fun.

I love watching my nieces. They are so funny. We have the best conversations. Allie never wastes an opportunity to let me know that she's three and a half. Maddy usually follows with the assertion that she is six and a quarter. Just to be sure I don't forget. Allie wants to be a princess, so Maddy decides to be queen. Maddy is the quintessential older sister, always telling Allie what she's doing wrong. It reminds me of my days as the little sister. Emily always got to be in charge. She would force my friends and me to play school with her and give us extra worksheets she got from her teacher. She would send us out for "recess," fill in the worksheets with the incorrect answers, and then mark them all wrong with her red pen. But that's a sidenote. Allie doesn't take Maddy's crap. She marches to the beat of her own drummer. It is funny how the two of them seem to be patterned after Emily and me. I guess there is something to that birth order stuff.

I took the girls to see the movie Rio tonight. As we were leaving, the sky was beautiful. The sun was setting in the distance, which I pointed out to the girls. "Can we drive there?" Allie asked sweetly. "No, Allie, it's too late to drive anywhere!" corrects Maddy. "Can we drive there in the morning?" Allie wanted to know. "No sweetie, we can't drive to the sun." (Words I never thought I'd say.) "It's way out in outer space." Allie took a few minutes to think about that. "I think I'll be an astronaut when I grow up!" she declared. (How a three year old [excuse me, a three and a half year old] can put that together is pretty impressive!) Maddy was alarmed. "No, Allie!" (she says this a lot) "You can't be an astronaut! If you're an astronaut you have to stay in space for a year!"

The conversation went on, including a gentle reminder from Auntie Rena to Maddy that her sister has time to decide what she wants to be an it's okay for her to dream. These are the sorts of conversations we have frequently. "Look what I can do!" is said so often I can barely turn my head quick enough to watch both of them. They are always trying to marry me off one way or another, whether by offering to come with to search for a husband, counting money out to try to buy me a man, or attempting to get me engaged to the furniture, there's always a new plot with them. In fact, they are always plotting. Lil scamps.

So it's a double-win weekend. I love surprises and I love my nieces. I get to live vicariously through my sister being swept away for the night, and I get to pretend to be a mom for a little while. On Mother's Day, no less! My life is pretty much great :)

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