Nailed It! Best Surprise Ever

My first attempt at a #DailyPost. Go easy on me. 

Ten years is a long time. Like, a whole DECADE. Ten years of my life married to the same guy. Living in the same house (ok, a handful of homes, but always together). Sleeping in the same bed (oh, the snoring!). Ten years of (mostly) love, (typically) laughter, and (often) fights over what’s on TV. That needs to be celebrated right? I thought so too. And I always imagined that our ten year wedding anniversary would be observed poolside in Hawaii, the same paradise where we honeymooned those years ago. But plans are made to be broken. Things happen. And by things, I mean children.


It was June and I was home on maternity leave. Running errands in those rare moments when there wasn’t a baby attached to me. Doing kindergarten homework. Covering nursery school drop off. Refereeing playdates. Disappointingly, not sunning on a beach in Maui. Yes I was a lucky woman to be living in my new dream home with my three healthy kids, including my brand new daughter (a daughter!) Lark. But I was heading back to work in a month. I was emotional. I was hormonal. I was plain old bitter. Hawaii wasn’t happening. We weren’t getting the Tori-Spelling-inspired barefoot in the sand vow renewal with the kids running around us. We were getting shafted.

But, wait a second. It came to me as I sobbed through “A Thousand Years” playing on the minivan radio one morning after my post-partum-attempt-at-fitting-into-business-suits work out. Who said we needed sand? Now that we moved out of the cement jungle of NYC, we had a yard! We had a garden! We had a July anniversary! And suddenly it became clear. Just because we couldn’t have Hawaii, it didn’t mean we’d have to skip commemorating our ten years by refreshing our union altogether! And then it became even clearer- I was going to surprise Gull! Not the way I (failed at) surprising him on his 25th birthday. Not like (when I spilled the beans) pulling off every gift I ever bought him. This was going to be epic.

I called the Rabbi. I secured a Chuppah. I ordered a bouquet. I hired a talented photographer. I even called in a favor and got a lovely, if perhaps too revealing for a new mommy, renewal dress. All I knew was I wanted a do-over from the poofy princess dress I regretted choosing the first time around. I brought our closest friends and immediate family in on the secret. Everyone was super excited.


It was a Thursday. I left work (yes I did have to go back even though the suits didn’t fit) early unbeknownst to Gull, and got my hair and makeup done near home. I dressed the boys in their khaki shorts and white linen shirts. I dressed Baby Lark in a simple white dress with lavender accents and a tiny bow in her tuft of hair. The food was delivered. The family started pulling up.


And then I choked. I couldn’t make it to the finish line. Gull hates surprises. They make him weird and awkward. He isn’t a go with the flow type. He thought we were going to dinner. I had told him we should write nice cards to each other so he’d have some semblance of vows prepared. So I called him and gave him a gentle head’s up. “Hi Babe, our family is here. When you get home, just put on the clothes I left in the bathroom for you, and go in the backyard.” That’s when the tailspin began.


I had pulled it off. He was certainly surprised. But boy, was he was nervous. Instead of following my directions, the first thing he did when he got home was make a stiff drink. He nodded warily at our family and took his place in the backyard. He watched as I glided down the deck accompanied by the piano version of “A Thousand Years” in my new dress with my old hairpiece and my blue lilies and my borrowed earrings. With Finch and Sparrow as my escorts, and little Lark as my treasured flower girl. Tori Spelling, eat your heart out.

 Photo: A lot happened in 10 years!

As we stood under that canopy surrounded by loved ones (even my dad came this time) I was glowing, but the kids were fidgeting. We plugged them with lollipops, we gave Lark the paci. But Gull was fidgeting too. I poured my heart out with my well-prepared reflections on our life together. He abandoned the card he wrote and tried to cuff it. He isn’t great at speeches. But it was beautiful, and later, after he had absorbed what had happened, processed that I had finally managed to truly surprise him with impressive flair, after he gave me my 10 year anniversary gift of PJ pants and headphones (wha????), he was genuinely awed, and he was sincerely thankful.


And now he’s working on spending the next ten years trying to outdo me. Good luck!




4 thoughts on “Nailed It! Best Surprise Ever

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