Surprise!

How you cope with surprises says a lot about you. For instance, are you someone that likes surprises, as in when the lights go on and there’s 30 people screaming happy birthday at you? Are you over the moon? Or do you smile tightly and think, why did so-and-so think this would be fun?

Would you describe yourself as someone who embraces spontaneity, sudden change of plans, or last minute ta-da’s? Perhaps framed that way you think, why yes, yes I do. You say that now but when it happens you may not be so quick to ascribe the same benevolence to the experience.

Surprises are really about ego. Both the giver’s ego and the getter’s ego. (I like that word, not changing it, sorry grammar-puss’). Hear me out before you bring in the goodwill bell. Someone who is thinking of a surprise gift, party, event, for someone is really thinking deep down, how it will make them feel, how they will be looked upon by the ‘getter’ and how happy it will make everyone. They will be that one special person who was clever enough to have thought of a surprise party with all the trappings of a Cirque du Soliel trapeze act.

If you are the getter, it is also all about you, how you are important enough that all these people came together for you, or all this time and effort was put into this special gift just-for-you you you. Because you deserve it, right? Because you should be surprised more often, in fact, why hadn’t anyone surprised you with this overstuffed box of sweet nothings from Rogers before? And you twirl like the star you are in your illusory tulle.

Of course, there are good surprises and bad surprises and these labels are dependent somewhat on the ego, the size that is, of the giver or getter. If you surprised my mother with a blade of grass, she’d gush and make you feel like you were sent from heaven, just to warm her moment with that sweetest thought in the world. I am a much harder audience. I wish I could be like my mom, but I’m not. Maybe because I have a bigger ego, because I want Liza Minnelli sequins gyrating, with Sammy Davis dancing and lighting cues and an investment of thought that borders on a production of La Cage aux Folle on New Year’s. Tough, I know, but I was born this way and it can’t be helped. I think because I secretly wish for that to be the way of the world, people going all out to surprise those they love and not settling for a boring and predictable Hallmark way to someone’s ego, or rather heart. Whichever, I’m quite sure they’re entwined.

Though, maybe it isn’t all about ego, maybe it’s more about the intentions nestled there in the wrapping paper because I am simply unable to be anything but stupidly thankful when my son surprises me. It doesn’t happen often but I suppose with true love, it doesn’t have to to make it special.

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