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Surprising the Family

Life is good right now, even though my dad nearly ruined our surprise trip home. I was so angry at him for that, and I still haven’t quite forgiven him! My mom, as always, is super late on wrapping presents and she was freaking out over not having wrapped my little brother’s gifts (he’s 25, but mentally challenged, and still believes in Santa Claus…or as he affectionately calls him, “Ho-Ho”) I offered to take him to my husband’s house and play games and watch movies so she could get them wrapped woot I got out of wrapping presents. I tried to show him the Wii U, but his caregiver gave him Despicable Me for Christmas and he has been carrying it around the rest of the day, he even brought it to the dinner table with us, and he wanted to watch it. So we watched that instead and it was really cute, I’ve never actually seen the movie, just clips here and there. He passed out near the end of the movie and I got a cute picture of him and sent it to her (and she returned with a picture of her labrador-sized dog hiding in the dryer because of the thunderstorms we’ve been getting daily).

We found out the two days before we left that my dad was coming down from Atlanta for the weekend and would be leaving Sunday morning and we wouldn’t get in until Sunday night. I didn’t want him to get upset if we didn’t at least try to see him, so I had to let him in on the secret. He had to work Monday so he couldn’t extend his trip, but he promised he wouldn’t tell my mom or sister we were coming in. He dropped my brother off in the morning and told both of them that “they would be very happy by the end of the day.” My mom said he was acting giddier than she had ever seen him before. Now my sister’s freaking smart and my mom is pretty darn clever too so I was pissed about him saying ANYTHING that could give us away, and of course they started to wonder. My mom thought she was getting Edible Arrangements delivered, and my sister wondered briefly if we were coming in. By the evening when nothing else had showed up, my mom started wondering if we were coming in too. THANKS DAD. Ugh!

I just had to take a break from writing because Ben woke up and wanted to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I taught him well.

Our surprises didn’t go exactly as planned but they still went great and I’m really happy about them! My brother goes to a work program for disabled adults from 9am until 3pm and his caregiver keeps him from 3pm until 5pm so my mom can work or just get some time to herself. We wanted to meet him at his work program, surprise him, and then give the caregiver the day off and meet my mom at the mall at 5pm (where they meet to drop him off and pick him up and say, “Oh, hey, surprise, F couldn’t make it so we thought we’d bring your turkey butt to you instead.” His program is pretty far away, and his caregiver lives close to it, so the mall is a good half way point for everyone to meet at.) Well, we showed up at the day program and my mom’s car was in the parking lot! She must have gotten off work early. It was sprinkling as we walked up, and typical for Florida, it started pouring within seconds. We couldn’t find the door (the program is in a strip mall with multiple spaces as theirs, but only one door remains unlocked and we didn’t remember which one it was) so we’re running, trying to get out of the pouring rain, and we come across three people all by themselves in a room. It just happens to be my mom, brother, and his caregiver. We bang on the window, my mom’s mouth literally falls open, and the caregiver lets us in because Mom was too shocked to move. Hugs and laughs and surprised stares were given, and it was declared a success!

My sister teaches Zumba and her class is Tuesday night, so I thought it would be fun to sneak into the class shortly after it began and then just start dancing as if I belonged there. But she called my mom Monday afternoon and told her she was really sick with a fever and had another teacher take over her class. Bummer. I didn’t want to wait until Christmas day to surprise her, so after we found out she was feeling better Tuesday afternoon we showed up at her apartment and yelled, “SURPRISE!” It was still nice but I wish I could have done my original plan.

And now I’m just sitting here, enjoying reliving my childhood watching Harry Potter with my brother, and hoping my mom calls us soon. Not for me, I love spending time with Ben, but as soon as the sun went down he has been obsessed with Ho-Ho and worrying he is going to miss him. As soon as we pulled in Robert’s neighborhood, he was asking, “Ho-Ho?” (No, buddy, it’s only 7 o’clock and Ho-Ho isn’t even near us yet, he’s delivering presents to other children on the other side of the world). As soon as he woke up from his nap, he panicked and said rapidly, “Ho-Ho? Ho-Ho?” (No, not yet, you were only asleep for 30 minutes. I promise I won’t let you sleep through Christmas.) He still asks me occasionally and I keep having to remind him that it’s not time yet. He won’t be at peace until he is home in his bed. It was hard to get in the Christmas spirit before we arrived, but it’s wonderful to see the spirit still alive in my brother’s world. He will never outgrow his childhood wonder and love of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Since we still have a few days of it left and my husband is Jewish, I wish everyone a very happy Hanukkah, a very merry Christmas, a happy Kwanzaa, and a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones!

Edit: Oops, my husband was informed wrong and we don’t have a few days left of Hanukkah, it ended Christmas Eve. That shows how much we know about our own holidays!