A Surprise Blessing or the Blessing of a Surprise (BLESSING JAR Week 16)

This post was going to have a different title. My husband took me away for the weekend for my birthday and yesterday we decided to avoid the crowds by ordering breakfast on room service. So this was going to be The Blessing of Breakfast in Bed. I planned to write this post later in the afternoon while he watched Tottenham play (and beat) Arsenal but instead I dosed off, feet full of miles and head full of happiness.

The evening changed my writing plans.

We were in York, city with a pub for every day of the week and my college home. My husband had booked a table at a restaurant but had decided he wanted us to go for a drink beforehand. I was feeling relaxed and content to go along with any of his plans. He was particularly keen to try the York Tap, next to the railway station and closely located for our meal; he told me he’d seen it had some good reviews on Trip Advisor.

We made our way into a noisy bar with nothing to distinguish it but a few elements of apparently original Victorian architecture. Perhaps it had some good craft beers that had attracted those reviews, which my other half would certainly appreciate. It wouldn’t have been my choice but if he was happy, I was happy.

I sat a table while he went to the bar and smiled to myself as he chatted animatedly with couple next to him in the queue. Years ago, he would have been too shy to do that; now, he brought back happy memories of my mother’s easy way of making friends with strangers. All around was constant noise and movement, people coming and going between entrance, bar and seats like tides.

Suddenly a bunch of multi coloured tulips wrapped in brown paper and cellophane were placed on the table in front of me. There was a split second in which I was ready to challenge whoever was invading our space but before I could do so, came the duet of words:

“Happy Birthday Mum!”

And there stood my sons, who were supposed to be in Lincoln or Sheffield, with unison grins mirroring their father’s, who then said to them, ‘’Here’s your room keys.” They weren’t just joining us for the evening meal, they were staying the night at our hotel so I could have their company for a whole, unexpected twenty four hours.

It turns out that I live in a family of plotters and liars.

My beloved is usually more spontaneous than forward thinking but he had brought all his work management skills to the fore over the past few weeks. The three of them had set so many false trails in conversations about Skype chats on my birthday, promised cards and present in the post, justifications for not stopping by as we passed the Sheffield turn off on the motorway, and ‘just a little something’ so I had something to unwrap on the day (that turned out to be another hotel stay and tickets in the summer for all of us to see Billy Ocean in concert, another surprise).

Plotters and liars the lot of them.

But how can I object? I’ve taken exactly the same delight in organising similar surprises for my husband. And having all my men with me on my birthday made me so breathlessly, heart-stoppingly happy.

The lengths and  trouble they went to were an indication of their love for me. I don’t doubt their love for a minute but I feel I can never take it for granted so I was surprised by such evidence of the depth of it. I remember telling them that love isn’t just a feeling, it’s a doing word – they sure proved it me this birthday – and that’s the real blessing.


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