When I asked Ryan if he wanted a party for his 30th birthday, he declared that he “MOST CERTAINLY DIDN’T WANT ANY FUSS AND NO PARTY. ABSOLUTELY NO PARTY.”
But, since he was 30, after all, and I knew our parents would want to have dinner at the least, I suggested a very low-key barbecue at our house to celebrate with just our parents. Ryan thought this was a great idea.
Then, I just disregarded everything he said and invited a handful of his closest friends, too.
I listen really well. Clearly.
But, in my defense – I just couldn’t let his 30th birthday slide by without a little celebration. And I think he really just didn’t want me getting all worked up and stressed about a gathering (which just so happened to fall one day after another party I was hosting for 40 women – more on that tomorrow). He knows me quite well and knows that I would go overboard and end up exhausted, stressed and irritable. None of which a good birthday make.
So, I shot out emails and texts to a handful of Ryan’s friends to see if they were available. Almost everyone was. So, it was decided.
I am actually pretty proud of us all, because several of us are not good at keeping surprises (myself included). And while we didn’t set it up to have “the moment” where Ryan walked in and everyone cheers “Surprise,” which Ryan would have hated, it was so fun to see his facial expression as all his friends arrived.
I love it.
As soon as Ryan arrived home, he spotted the car of our friends Dave and Pam. (They weren’t there yet, but had dropped the car off earlier when they went to run some errands.) I played dumb and told him that I didn’t even think it was their car. He must have been watching for them, because when they came back, he told me he was going to go flag them down. I said, “Well, you can just talk to them over dinner. I invited them.” He beamed.
It was like that for each friend who arrived. Every time, Ryan was clearly surprised to see that yet another person was coming. It was adorable.
First Haarzy and Ian.
Then Jon, Ann and Molly.
And our parents, my brother and Ryan’s grandma were able to make it, too.
We had a really nice time and it was very Ryan. Low-key, not fussy and fun.
Just like Ryan, he asked for homemade brownies instead of cake. (I use the recipe from Domestic Adventure.) After everyone headed home, Ryan told me how surprised he was. He seemed genuinely happy to see everyone and celebrate another year.