I wrote to all our family members and as many friends as I could and asked them to send me some fun memories of Wayne. I took those letters along with some favorite photos and made a scrapbook for Wayne. I really had fun reading through all the letters that came in, it brought back a lot of memories, or enlightened me on a few things I hadn't ever heard before. If you are reading this and forgot to send in a letter, I can always add to the book and would be happy to do so.
I sent out invitations to the surprise party to family and friends. I asked them all to arrive no later than 6:15. Wayne's "meeting" would begin at 6:30. It seemed like everything was going perfectly until a few days before. I asked Wayne what he'd like to do for his birthday and he said, "let's go out to dinner on Saturday". I panicked inside a little and suggested breakfast instead. He thought that would be okay. At first when he suggested that we go out to dinner Saturday night, I thought he was trying to get me to spill the beans because he suspected something. I'm not a good lier, and he knows it. The next morning I called Scott to see if Wayne was still planning on the "meeting". He said he'd talk to him. That night Wayne came home and told me that he had forgotten all about his "tax meeting" with our old ward and began asking me what I thought he should present. I helped him a little with his presentation, and was soooo relieved that he wasn't suspecting anything.
Saturday morning I sent him off to work with a lunch so that he wouldn't have to leave the office for any reason. He had told me that he was planning on going back to work after his "meeting", but I said I would really appreciate it if he worked straight through the day so that he could come home after his "meeting". He said that he would come home as soon as he was done.
When he left, I began making a birthday banner, finishing up the book, and making relish trays, and cookies. Everything was going perfectly until just after lunch when the phone rang. It was Scott. He said, "guess who I just ran into at Costco?" I asked him who, and he said, "Wayne, and while we were talking, guess who we saw?" My heart started sinking.... "who did you see Scott?" I asked. "Your niece and nephew." "Who, which ones?" I asked. Sharmi and Brian had come up early to run errands before the party and their oldest and youngest were wandering around. When Wayne asked them what they were doing in town (they live about 2 hours away) Kristen said, "We're here for uncle Steve's surprise party". Steve is Wayne's brother just older than him, and just happens to be in the ward that is hosting the fake meeting. The problem is that Steve's birthday is in August, and Wayne knows that. Scott just stood there like he had no clue about what was happening. (He is much cooler under pressure than I am, thank goodness!) I just knew that Wayne was going to put 2 and 2 together. Scott said that maybe Wayne would be thinking that the surprise party was after the "meeting" and that's the reason why I wanted him to come home as soon as he finished. I was feeling rather deflated, but hopeful that Scott was right. Dang him! Why did he have to go to Costco just hours before the party?! Even with the possibility of the surprise being spoiled, we still had to get everything done as just in case. :Please don't let him figure it out", was all I could think about.
We stopped and picked up balloons and headed to the church to set up. There was a luncheon there just before us, so we were lucky and didn't even have to set up tables and chairs. We put up the sign, arranged balloons, and set out the food. We had tons of delicious food! Thanks everyone for bringing something to share. I was also grateful for my family and a few of Wayne's family who came to help me set up. I couldn't have done it all without you! THANKS!!!!
It got really exciting for me when people started showing up. This building was perfect to pull off the surprise. The primary room is where we were having the party, and it is connected to the kitchen. The primary room and kitchen are also connected to the relief society room. So we had our friends from our last ward wait in the relief society room, while the rest of us waited in the primary room. Scott was the look out and was going to call me on the cell phone when he arrived. They even had prelude music so make it feel even more legitimate.
We were all waiting as quietly as possible after we got the signal over my phone. Scott began the "meeting" then paused to ask Wayne if he could pull him aside for a minute before they got started. He took Wayne to the door in the back of the relief society room which leads right into the primary room. Wayne followed him and we all yelled "SURPRISE!". It worked! He didn't suspect a thing, and he had a pile of handouts in his arms to prove it. IT WAS AWESOME!!!!
As soon as we all yelled surprise, the rest of our friends followed Wayne into the primary room. I was sad that they didn't get to see the look on Wayne's face, but grateful for their help in being the decoy.
Elli loved seeing almost every single cousin in one room. She actually knows most of them by name. We keep Christmas photos on the fridge all year long so she can look at them and name who they are. Bradley wasn't disappointed to see everyone either. Most of the boys disappeared into the gym to play basketball all evening. (Which was fine by me, the adults were able to visit longer that way.)
It really turned out to be a great evening. Thank you so much to everyone who came, especially those who traveled. And thanks to Wayne's family who stuck around to not just help finish the food, but clean up. I would have been there a lot longer without your help! And thank you to Scott for being my partner in crime! I had a wonderful time, and I know Wayne did too. It meant a lot to him having all the people he cares so much about in one room.