We arrive at values by different routes.
Many years ago I staged a surprise bon voyage party for my in-laws, the weekend before their departure for Hawaii. I enlisted some of my husband’s cousins to help keep Mom and Dad Noragon at home, and we all descended like vultures. Laid out Mom’s china and silver, set out the food we’d prepared and settled into enjoying ourselves.
An hour in I was literally felled by the flu. Dad drove me home. Later he drove some cousins home. The husbands got themselves home. Mom kept all the children involved, as parents were too sick to leave their beds. Mom and Dad cleaned up behind us. Yes, they went to Hawaii and No, they did not get sick.
This experience became the core of my maxim, “it’s stupid to perpetrate a big surprise.” People best make their own choices. Simply, don’t do things to people.
However, I listened in on a discussion between Emily and a friend recently. The friend denigrated the ethnic background of someone they saw with a remark about skin color. He needed Emily’s agreement to make his point. There was a loud, silent pause before Emily replied coolly, “I didn't notice the color of his skin.” As effective as a bucket of ice water. I attributed that to reason.
The past weekend the girls’ father asked to take them to a big picnic. The kid calendar already included a band show in Columbus for Emily and a birthday sleepover for Laura. I calculated each would be going to the picnic on three or four hours sleep, so I asked their dad to hold while I asked if they wanted to go, even knowing they might fall asleep with their eyes wide open. Of course they did.
On picnic day Becca, the oldest sibling at 22, fortunately, called to tell me they were on the way. I said I would go at once to bring Laura home from the sleepover. “But don’t tell them,” Becca said. “It’s a surprise.”
I opened my mouth to tell her it was not a surprise; her siblings are actual people who were consulted. I closed my mouth. I dislike homilies, too.
On another note, the blue towels.
An old stacked stone retaining wall.
Dad's fall blooming crocus, the colchicum, are up
And every open bloom has been nibbled, surely the chipmunks.
Soon the garden will be a sea of lavender blossoms.
And, the last gerbera daisy of the season.
It surprised me.