I recently got to be part of a real surprise. I’m talking about the kind of surprises that are so good, that even when told, you don’t quite believe them.
Recently, my niece was to be married with just immediate family and a few selected friends at a resort in the Dominican Republic. As luck would have it for me, I was able to be a last minute fill in for my nephews wife who wouldn’t be going.
Just a month prior to the wedding, both my niece and nephew were out to our house for a visit as the bachelor party just happened to be in Denver. We didn’t know then that a spot would be open for sure, but we did joke that someone from our family could fill any opening that came available. Just a few days later, I did get a call asking if Devin or I could come. I guess we are the two most likely to pull out a passport and jump in a plane.
Devin’s passport had expired, but I said we could fast track the renewal and I would pay half of his trip to get there and room share, but if he wanted to go, he would need to pony up the other half because I wasn’t willing to fund the entire trip and not get to have any of the fun. After some brief calculations, he decided it was a bit too rich for his blood and I should just go. Lucky for me, Ian was totally fine with it being either one of us as he and I have a history of having really great stories when we get together. So, it was decided (after consulting with bride and groom) that I would go. It was also decided that we should just keep it a secret for a few more weeks and surprise my Brother and sister in law (the parents of the bride of coarse)
As fate would have it, Dave, Heidi and Ian were on the same connecting flight out of Washington DC that I was also on to get to the Dominican. I had taken an overnight flight out of Denver and arrived in Dulles around 5 am . I made it to the United club area for some breakfast, coffee and a bit of work on the computer. Before I knew it, Ian was texting me that they had landed and would be off their plane and headed to the next gate soon.
I decided to call my brother Dave as if I knew he would be in the airport at this general time and wish him a good trip. He picked up his phone as expected and we chatted as he walked from their arrival gate to the departure gate of the next leg. I was standing behind the doors of the United club as they passed, so I simply exited and followed at a safe distance so that he couldn’t hear me speaking behind him as well as on his phone. Ian turned around and I waved so that he knew my location, and I kept bodies strategically blocking the view of Heidi as she too would sometimes take a full look around. I could see that they had gotten to our departure gate, so concluded my conversation with Dave and waited for Ian to come find me to plan the surprise as the gate was around a corner and he was hoping to catch it on camera.
Ian came out, but said his mom was right behind him and would see me. Well, there wasn’t any place to hide at that point, so I just backed up a little bit more to make sure we wouldn’t be in sight or earshot of Dave when she learned I was there.
I was just finishing up giving Ian my hello hug when she walked up and was surprised to have run into me at this airport at the same time they were there. It didn’t even dawn on her that I was there to go to the wedding. She just figured I was traveling and happened to be in same spot at the same time. Even when Ian said that I was his “date” for the wedding, she laughed it off as a joke. It wasn’t until we both just stood there nodding that it was true, that it sunk in that I was indeed going.
This time she screamed a little, hugged me harder and was in true delight.
We then walked around the corner to surprise Dave. He was sitting facing the direction I was coming from, so he saw me coming, but the connection from recognition, to registration to realization was like a movie across his face. The realization brought the tears and shock that I was there to share in their trip.
I don’t know that I’ve ever surprised two people as fully as that morning. There has been some hard surprises this past year for them, so it was great to be part of a good one.
The wedding was awesome, beautiful and perfect. The resort was beautiful, immaculately maintained and had an impeccably trained staff.
I’m ever so thankful to have been considered to go as a fill in, to have the passport on hand and be able to go (even if it was touch and go with work as they were none too happy), and to have had that time with family that I don’t get to see enough of and meet the friends of the bride and groom and see what a wonderful group that is. It was a bit odd for me to have everyone there (except Dave and Heidi) call me Aunt Sally all week, but that was fun too.
I’ll get to the Ian and Aunt Sally stories on some other posts.