We Pulled off the Surprise!!!

It was Tatay's 70th birthday yesterday. His men's group from the community here organized a surprise party for him. To be honest, I was skeptical that we could pull off the surprise. How to get him to the venue was critical to the surprise. At first, my mom suggested taking him there on the premise that we were going to take him out for a steak dinner for his birthday. Ummmm...I did not think this was going to work. Tatay is a smart cookie. I think he's going to see through this. 3 days before THE day, Tita A called me and said that A.M. was in charge of coordinating with me how to get Tatay to Tita E's house where the party was going to be held. The script was that A.M. will invite Tatay & Mama for dinner. Ok, this could work if there was a plausible explanation why we weren't celebrating as a family on his birthday. So time to lay the groundwork.

Me: Tatay, san nyo gusto kumain sa birthday nyo?
T: Dito nalang, steak tayo.
Me: Ah, ok. Pero may pasok si DH nun eh. Sa ibang araw nalang tayo mag-steak para walang pasok si DH and he can grill some steaks para masarap!
T: O, sige.

That evening, when A.M. called to invite Tatay for dinner, he was able to say "yes" because Tatay knew that we weren't celebrating his bday that evening.

Yesterday, I made sure to put up the charades of not having any plans for the evening. I prepared some pizza for "dinner," bathed the kids and even got them into their PJ's by the time A.M. picked up my parents for their "dinner." I tried to keep it as routine as possible. As soon as their car pulled out of our driveway, I immediately rounded up the kids to get them dressed. They were clueless too. I had not informed them of the surprise for their Lolo lest they let it slip that we were going to Lolo's surprise party. I could just imagine DD2 saying, "Lolo, where are we going for your surprise party?" LOL!

Anyway, I tried to get them dressed and ready to go as fast as possible. I drove as fast as I could without putting ourselves in danger. I knew that timing would be key to pulling off the surprise.

A.M.'s story was that he was taking them out to a steak house but they needed to drop by Tita E's house to pick up the coupon/gift certificate. To buy us some time to get to the place, A.M. picked up my parents after he got off work. He then took them to his house so they could pick up his wife.

By the time we got off the freeway, DS spots their car on the next lane one car behind us. Oh no!!! Tatay was sitting on the front passenger seat. Two things were going for us: 1. they were still a car behind us, if we were side by side, Tatay could have seen me. 2. Tatay was not really paying attention to the other cars on the road. Whew!

I tried to gain some distance from them but by the time I pulled into Tita E's street, they were a couple of seconds behind us. There was no way that we would be able to get into the house before they arrived. I let them pull into the driveway. I made a U-turn and parked on the street where I could see them. The moment Tatay went down from his vehicle, I told the kids to get down from the car and we ran into the house in time to catch them singing "Happy Birthday" to a very surprised Tatay.

YES! We pulled it off!!! One of the rare times that he was genuinely surprised by it all!

And he did get his steak dinner c/o Tito P who grilled them marvelously. DD1 remarked that his steaks were better than the steaks we grill at home. LOL! The birthday cake was a mango cake from Red Ribbon. I know...time to break out another bottle of effective diet pills with all the food I ate last night! LOL!

After dinner, there was a short program. The kids sang L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole. I was genuinely surprised with DD1 because she sang very well - loud and clear - and was not shy at all! I knew she was a little nervous as she kept her eyes on me the whole time she was singing. But she performed brilliantly!!! I was a very proud mama! After their performance, we took turns honoring Tatay. Bro1 prepared a powerpoint presentation while I provided the narrative. Tatay loved it a lot!

It was a wonderful night, a beautiful way to celebrate 70 years of a full life.

Happy Birthday Tatay! We love you!