When I was 6 and my sister was 5 and my brother was 2, my Dad took us out shopping for a birthday present for Mom. This was huge is many ways. My Dad traveled a lot and was never home. When he was, he rarely took all of us on his own. And when it did it was for fun stuff like sledding or the zoo. Shopping??? I think back on it now and it's kind of amazing to think he even did that.
It was wonderful. We went to Macy's which was wonderful. (This was in Kansas City, Missouri.) The whole thing was magical. We bought her some beautiful - I mean to a 6 year old girl they were the most amazing wonderful beautiful house slippers ever. Pink with a big fuzzy ball on the top of each one. (The antithesis of my Mom's taste by the way.)
All the way home - even over the ice cream we stopped to enjoy - my Dad kept telling us over and over again that this was a secret. Do you know what secret means? We cannot tell her. It must be a surprise. When she opens the package tomorrow morning. We cannot spoil the surprise. It is a secret.
So, of course, we walk in the door and Mom greets us and my sister blurts in her most excited voice "They sure do have gorgeous slippers at Macy's!!!!!"
It was our family code for all secrets from then on. "Where ya been?" "They sure do have gorgeous slippers at Macy's." "oh, ok"
Her other birthday I remember is her 80th. She picked the restaurant. I made the arrangements. My brother and his wife came up (to Charleston, SC) from Jacksonville. A limo picked them all up (also included was my Mom's BFF) and took them to an elegant dinner with appropriate birthday acknowledgement, waited for them and took them back home. The woman from the restaurant called me after to report that everyone looked like they were having a great time. I thought that was so classy. Mom had fun and that's what counted.
Miss you, Mom. If there's an afterlife, I hope you are having a great time.