Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Unexpected Surprises

I remember asking a colleague once when I was a teacher if she was excited for the Christmas break. When she replied "not really," I was caught a bit off-guard. We all loved the break from grading piles of papers, planning lessons and dealing with some of the difficult students. But then she continued, "I mean, I always look forward to Christmas, but it's the unexpected surprises in life that I really cherish. What I mean is, I know Christmas is coming on December 25 each year, and I know I will get time off, which is great, but it's the unexpected surprises I love -- you know, like snow days."

This weekend I had the pleasure of having an unexpected surprise. On Saturday morning I heard a knock on my door. I wasn't expecting company and I was still in my pajamas. Jason was still sleeping. I won't say what time it was because we'd be really embarrassed.

When I opened the door, there stood my Aunt Ellen and her husband Bruce, who live over an hour away. I haven't seen my Aunt since Thanksgiving and prior to that, I hadn't seen her in many years. She had never been to my house before so you can imagine how shocked I was standing there in my pajamas seeing her on my doorstep.

Apparently, she had read my blog and wanted to come surprise me and see my house in person. At first, I was embarrassed that my house was such a mess and I wasn't dressed.  As we visited and I showed them around, embarassment was replaced with warmth and joy.  It felt so good that they cared enough to drive over an hour to see me, my family, and my home.  We had a wonderful time together and I was so grateful they decided to surprise me.  It truly made my weekend special.

I also had an unexpected surprise last week.  I was getting ready for work the day after Jason fixed our bedroom closet doors with beadboard and I glanced up and saw that he had also put beadboard up on the back of the door to our bedroom and he had finally hung a full-length mirror.  He never mentioned any of this to me and he was already gone to work when I discovered it.  I know it sounds like such a trivial thing, but I was so touched by the unannounced gesture.  I just sat on my bed and stared at how nicely it looked. It was so thoughtful of him and I was completely surprised.

Jason is really incredible in that way.  Many times when he goes to the grocery store, he returns with "prizes" for me and Imani.  "Close your eyes and put your hand out," he'll say every time.  If you were watching just our reactions, you wouldn't be able to tell that I am 25 years older than Imani, because we both get equally excited to get our prizes.  Sometimes it's our favorite candy (Milky Way Midnight for me, Gummies for Imani), sometimes it's my favorite magazine and a small toy for Imani and sometimes it's scratch off lottery tickets (despite my ongoing lectures that they are a waste of money).

This past weekend we bought some old keys at Hub's Place to frame as artwork in our house.  (I'll post photos once we get them on the wall).  Jason put them all in the frames last night, but he was disappointed that we didn't have more skeleton keys.  Apparently, when we first moved into our house, there was a great skeleton key, but I have no recollection of it, nor does Imani.  Jason keeps insisting that we find the missing key that no one remembers because it would look so much better in the frames than the keys we bought.  He won't stop talking about how we need more skeleton keys.

So today, I stopped in a little antique shop on my way home and I found two skeleton keys.  I decided that I would surprise Jason and placed them on his pillow. I know he'll be happy to see them.

Brighten someone's day today by giving them an unexpected surprise, no matter how small. It makes ordinary life fun.


  1. Unexpected pleasures - like stumbling upon your blog - are a sweet surprise! We have all the original doors and hardware, including skeleton keys, still in use here. It's the only way we can lock doors! It's good that you got to enjoy your aunt's company. So often we put off living until everything is perfect. The problem is life continues regardless (people age, pass on) and perfection is never reached. It is only then we realize it's not the state of the home that matters, but the people within it. The sweet gestures you and Jason share are refreshing and a true reflection of your relationship.
    - Deborah

  2. Stephanie, thanks so much for visiting my blog and commenting! Your blog is great too.

  3. Stephenie, thank you for mentioning us in your newest post. That made my day as I read it to Bruce. I love how ambitious the two of you are. Your key idea is wonderful! I'll be looking for the most unique skeleton key to add to your collection. Also, you inspired me to finally paint my laundry room! That's what I've been doing for the past 2 days. Thanks! I love your keeps me in touch with you. And, yes, you do have a special husband.

  4. What a sweet surprise! I like that!


  5. What a wonderful post. Can you imagine how much more beautiful the world would be if everyone lived by this creed? To bestow unexpected surprises on others for no other reason than knowing it will bring them joy. You have really given me pause to reflect this evening!
    Thanks for praying for my patient, "A". It will mean so much to her.


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