July 2, 2014

PUBLISHER’S CORNER: Everyone deserves a surprise.

Adams,-Dan-colorBy Dan Adams

I grew up in Billings, Montana (okay, if you ask my friends, I’m still not quite grown up). So I will clarify and say “where I was raised early on in life.” As the years have passed, I have found my visits to Montana less frequent. I’m sure excuses can be found in blaming work, time, school events, money and a multiple of other reasons. Nevertheless, every time I do come home, I wonder why I don’t make the trip more often. Both of my parents are alive and in great health. I have two brothers and a sister within short drive of home. Additionally, I have my in-law’s and grandmother in-law who live an hour or so away in Powell, Wyoming. These are great reasons to make the journey back home for visits.

It so happens, this last journey was extra special. My mother was about to celebrate her 75th birthday. Now we all know, as you grow older, you want to forget each of these annual rituals. Not to mention, we really want to forget those milestone birthdays. My mother is not much different and had suggested that everyone just forget her birthday this year. Now deep down inside, we also really all know that no matter what birthday it is, we don’t want others to forget them. So with this in mind, I went to work and planned a special celebration for her birthday. Gifts seem to come in material items such as things that sit in a garden, on a shelf or last a short time before they wear out. However, as we get older, the best gift we can ever give is the gift of being together.

I was able to fly in the night before and stay with a friend. My parents were busy until the next afternoon, so I took a “bonus surprise” opportunity early in the day and drove down to visit my wife’s parents and grandmother in Powell. Grandma, who lives in her home just 50 steps away from the in-law’s home, was sweeping in her kitchen when I opened the back door. Startled at first, she broke out in tears (of joy I hoped) when I entered the room. After a few moments, I had her call my mother-in-law to come over and help her with something. Again, when Katy entered the kitchen, it was a second surprise in the matter of minutes. We walked over to their home and had one more surprise with the father-in-law (now this only works if they like you and you like them). After a few hugs, family catch ups and a fantastic homemade lunch, off I drove back to Billings.

It was nearly 3:30 when I picked up the cell phone and called my mother. As I rang the bell at their front door, my mother cupped the phone and I heard her say to my father that someone was at the front door. He opened the door with a great big smile but didn’t say anything. He pointed me to the hallway where I walked down still talking to my mother. She heard the echo and ran out into the hallway, dropping the phone on the floor. At that moment, it was indeed a great day of surprises.

The day wasn’t over just yet. I talked them into going to dinner at their favorite restaurant (The Olive Garden). The surprise was somewhat ruined when the hostess let on that the “table of 16” was almost ready. However, shortly after arrives my two brothers and sister with parts of their respective families. Each arrival was a surprise and the evening ultimately ended with what seemed to be my mothers favorite gift – all of her children under the same roof having ice cream and cake.

For me, I hope my children remember me on my 75th birthday, and even though I won’t be asking them, I hope they surprise me with a best gift ever.

Filed Under: Family