Sunday, January 08, 2017

Little things can mean a lot

Today I surprised Kathy with her ideal birthday celebration. It was so easy to do that I feel a little guilty.

She moved away from my neighborhood years ago and really misses it. She thought it would be nice to spend the day around town, starting with church, then a trip to the local bookstore, and lunch.

I told her I'd be happy to since, after all, today is Elvis' birthday and I felt a glass should be raised in his honor. But my flippant response camouflaged my real plan.

Kathy desperately wanted a ticket to see Obama's farewell address at MacCormick Place. I was pretty sure she wouldn't get one. After all, she now lives way out there in The Land Beyond O'Hare, and getting to the city by car at dawn, then finding a place to park, then getting into line in time seemed daunting.

So I decided to give her a way to celebrate Obama from her home on the day of the address. I found this glossy Conde Naste retrospective -- so she could flip through the pages and relive the glory days -- and made a contribution to Organizing for Action in her honor -- so that while she watches she'll know she has a part in helping his work continue.

On the way to church, as soon as I got into the car, she told me how disappointed she was that she didn't get a ticket to the farewell address. She noticed the envelope I was carrying and I lied, telling her I had some questions about my condo association's 2017 budget that she, as a realtor, might be able to answer.

I let her choose the restaurant and she selected a downscale but yummy Thai place. After we ordered, I handed her the envelope and she was so, so happy.

Her birthday isn't for another three weeks so she wasn't expecting it. It really didn't take any effort at all to put it together and surprise her. I must remember to be more thoughtful and do things like this more often in 2017.


  1. Simple--yet a GREAT idea!

  2. Those are the best kinds of gifts - they show you've been paying attention all along.