Birthday surprise takes a turn

The gift was always meant to be a surprise.

You’ve been in on this from the beginning, Dear Reader.

I shared how Husband was planning a grand trip somewhere in the world in honor of my big birthday coming up at the end of this month.

We’ve tackled all of the angles of this, you and I.

Do I keep it a surprise? Almost all of you were, “Absolutely, YES!”

He has been head down planning and scheming for weeks now.

I was told to not look at his phone or walk behind him if his laptop was open.

Meanwhile, another birthday celebration started brewing, one that saw a girlfriend coming down to visit me here at this remote coastal marsh.

I’m still not clear how this one grew like wildfire, but before I knew it, one friend grew to nine beloved ladies packing their things to spend the weekend here at the marsh.

Double meanwhile, Husband was working to make his points and miles do their magic.

“How early can you leave that week?” he asked as he moved our departure up to the day after the girls’ weekend.

This would be a good point in the story to mention what I had kind of failed to mention to Husband.

He knew one or two friends were coming that weekend. He didn’t know I was quickly on my way to double digit guests.

The growing guest list, the last-minute plans, the house not coming together like I had planned. It kept building like a volcano with too much lava bursting to get out.

I finally got around to sharing the guest list with Husband.

His eyes about popped out of his head.

Trust me, I know I failed on the marriage front. We’re not big into secrets. This is his home, too. I should’ve consulted him earlier.

He and I don’t really fight. Still, the “discussion” of all this built to an evening where we both decided to spend some time apart.

I went off to hang new shower curtains.

He took Pup on a 3-mile walk.

We came back to what looks like a sequel to that old O. Henry story, “The Gift of the Magi.”

“I’ve canceled the girls’ weekend,” I told him as I apologized and described the group email I had just sent. “It was too close up against this big trip you’ve been planning.”

His eyes got big. “I just canceled the trip,” he said. “I decided it was more important for you to have your time with your girlfriends.”

And so there it is.

No trip.

No girls weekend.

At least not for now.

Husband will get us somewhere sometime.

My beloved ladies will gather.

How and when will all come together?

No one will be more surprised than this birthday girl.

We’re never too old to relearn the important stuff, are we Dear Reader?

The gift was never the surprise.

It’s always been the people.

They are the gifts of a lifetime.

Daryn Kagan is the author of the book “Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog” and Executive Director of the Just One More Foundation. Email her at

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