Keeping Secrets

I’m terrible when it comes to keeping happy secrets. I tend to drop hints and go on about how excited I am or how much I’m looking forward to the big reveal. It must difficult for the person on the receiving end to hear enough to sort of work it out, but not quite.

My dad used to have a room at Christmas that he would announce was the staging area in the weeks leading up to the big day, saying it in such a serious way you’d have thought our guest room had been turned into a temporary war room and he was planning an invasion rather than wrapping gifts to put under the tree.

The last few days have been a bit like that here as I tend to lean towards the dramatic in much the same way as my dad. I posted a quickly made sign on the door before running off to work on Saturday as I was doing a bit of prep work for an important event.

Today is John’s birthday and we’re having a family party to celebrate on Saturday. As it’s a special birthday ending in O, I’ve been working on a few things in private down the hall in my studio space.

I mentioned the sign to John as I left saying there were things spread about in there that I didn’t want him to see so I’d posted a sign to remind him. I told that trusted him completely which is true, but I didn’t want him to forget and breeze in for something without thinking.

When I came in from work he said when asked that he had stayed out as requested, but asked me what was the significance of the upside down snail on my sign.

I thought, snail, sign, what … until I realized he was talking about the eye I’d added which was meant to imply, ‘I’m watching you!’

‘Upside down snail,’ … he makes me laugh!

I’ll have birthday photos on Monday after the gift giving and party on Saturday. I have a special present I brought back from the US that I can’t wait for you to see either.

I wish I could say more, but you never know who might be reading.

Happy Birthday, John!

The Gift You Keep

John Winchurch & Elizabeth Harper

John Winchurch & Elizabeth Harper

Reposted from original GOTJ

Six months ago, if someone had said, ‘ Elizabeth, 2007 is going to end a little differently than you’ve planned, but the new year will bring you an unexpected gift,’ my response might have been something along the lines of … right!  Over the last few years I’d had about all the unexpected gifts I could handle and frankly I don’t do very well when people give me things.

A gift can be a burden when it’s not something you want. I am talking about those kind of gifts that still have a price tag attached to them. You know what I mean … price tags like guilt, as in ‘Don’t you like it?’  Or those that may have a longer shelf life such as, ‘How come you never wear, use, or eat the things I buy for you?’

And because I don’t like to have things sitting around taking up space, I will almost always return something not right for me. Returning a gift is usually considered the worst offense. So given some of my experiences with people and gift giving why wouldn’t I think, ‘Gifts from the universe … no thanks, I’ll get it myself if I want it.’

After all my needs were pretty simple. I had the love and support of family and friends. My marketing position with a hospice organization was providing enough to fund the more creative life I envisioned as a photographer and I was in many ways building a life that was exactly what I thought I wanted.

Things weren’t perfect in every way, but who really expects perfection. With the exception of a less than desirable love life, things were pretty good. Nothing seemed unmanageable and for once it seemed as if I was driving the bus myself instead of feeling like a backseat driver in my own life.

Then on an important night to be out, I stayed in.

Home alone on New Years Eve, I decided to take a look at men on a UK dating site. What could it hurt to have a look? I’m in America and they’re way across the ocean. No problem there, right?  Plenty of time to correspond, get to know one another, take your time, move slowly, hey … developing a long distance relationship could be sort of like having a pen pal. No pressure I thought, in fact it might work perfectly for me because I was usually too busy to sleep, much less date .

And besides, I was absolutely not interested in serious relationship then.

Uh right … I find that words like that spoken out loud or not, seem to work in a way similar to a modern-day love spell. As soon as someone says, ‘I’m happy just dating,’ the man or woman of their dreams appears and dramatically changes the plan they envisioned for their future.

I hear stories like that from time the time, don’t you?  Now it seems to have happened to me. Just when I wasn’t expecting it, this perfect gift dropped into my inbox and into my life.

I think I’ll be keeping this one.