|My dad has always loved cars|
|My dad could have been a male model|
|My dad loves my mum|
|My dad loves his kids|
|My dad loves his grandkids|
In July my dad turned 60! and we (Bridey & I) decided we should organise a pary. Somewhere in the mix of things we decided it should be a surprise. I can't quite remember how or who came up with that idea but it proved to be quite a difficult thing to pull off...but we did it and it was monumental!
We thought it best to have mum do nothing (seeing as though she's married to dad and they live together). So I then found myself to be extra busy. Bridey and I planned everything down to the finest detail but because no one else in my family lives here, I did find myself run off my feet getting things done. The guest list alone was a nightmare. Mum compiled a list of names and sneakily sussed out dad for the names of a few of his childhood/teenage friends. I don't think the list was ever complete, mum was inviting people right up to a few hours before blast off!
You should have heard mine and mum's conversations on the phone. I think mum's code didn't match mine and vise versa! It went something like this...
Me: "So I know dad has a friend called Powder, but that's not his real name is it? I can't put 'To Powder' on the invitation"
mum: "cough, cough, no"
me: "so what is his real name?"
mum: silence... then, "when I was at Bridey's the other week, Mia would go, (singing) a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p..."
me: "oh that's cute, is that as far as she knows?"
mum: " no, it's just what she does...a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p.... cough"
me: "oh does Powder's real name start with P?"
me: "well that doesn't really help much cause I still don't know what his flippin name is!"...is it Peter?"
Me: "I thought his name was Brian", is it P or B?"
mum: "(frustrated voice) a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p!!"
me: "OK, is it Paul?"
mum: "it might be"
me: "what? it either is or it isn't",
mum: "yeah that sounds about right"
me: "it is Paul?"
mum: "hang on i just have to go to the loo"
me: waiting..."are you there?"
mum: long pause..."I can't believe this, every time I start to talk to you your father appears! he even followed me to the toilet!!", "yes it's Paul, his real name is Paul!"
Me: ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
So Paul got his invitation and in the end he couldn't even come!
This happened so many times. Can you imagine what it was like trying to figure out (in code) the name 'Fenton Downham'?...not so easy, believe me.
In the end I sent out about 150 invitations...finding the addresses for all of these could be another whole blog post but it wont be!!!!
I had a blast going through old slides and photos to put a slide show together but just getting those out of mum and dad's house was like mission impossible. Needless to say a few 'white lies' had to be told!
Well the time arrived and Bridey and the kids came over from Melbourne and Bridey and I spent two entire days running (or driving) from pillar to post getting all of the last minute stuff done. And an entire day decorating our venue. Right up until the very moment before dad walked in we were going over things making sure everything was organised properly.
It all paid off though because dad had no idea ( he thought he was going to a friends party) and almost didn't come...he wanted to go to the movies instead! when the lights came on and everyone shouted "SURPRISE", you should have seen his face. It was so worth it!
The programme for the night was 'This is Your Life' fashioned after the television show. Once again this was a 'little' idea that began as something that would be part of the night and eventually grew to become the entire night. It was fabulous though and everything just fit together perfectly. I managed to find dad's old mates from his teenage years and even his primary school buddy who used to live near him (he now lives near me...imagine that!) I also found his favourite teacher, who taught him in grade 1!!! I know, pretty cool huh?
We did the whole thing where the special guests stayed hidden until their turn. They uttered a few words over a microphone and then out they came. There was a lot of reminiscing and walks down memory lane, lots of laughs, and a few revelations that have been waiting a long time to surface.
We all had a turn up the front, along with many of dad's workmates, and other close friends, to say a few things to dad and wish him a happy birthday. Unfortunately Declan, Justine and their kids had to delay their trip home by a couple of week so that meant they weren't able to be there but they sent a beautiful video message and we played it on the night.
A lovely song was performed by Gabby Lovell and accompanied by Matt on the guitar. Our awesome MC (Bridey's hubby, Anthony) handed dad the book to dad and uttered those well known words "Denis Page, this is your life"...
Then Anthony explained that it wouldn't be a real 'this is your life' without a mega surprise and out came Declan, Justine, Gus, Tilly and Felix! Yes there were tears, but they were good tears.
The entire night was a huge success and was so worth all the many hours it took to get it organised.
Mum turns 60 this year as well...one thing is for sure...she aint getting a 'This is Your Life' surprise party!!!