Surprise parties always seem like such a good idea at planning time, but they are harder to pull off than we usually think.

Surprise parties always seem like such a good idea at planning time, but they are harder to pull off than we usually think.

After all, our friends and loved ones are actually pretty smart aren't they? What were we thinking?

Take for instance the party our niece, Lara, planned for her mom and dad's 60th wedding anniversary. She had a clever Evite invitation, lots of responses, people lined up the back stairway ready to scare her parents to pieces.

Bob and Peggy were taken to a movie so their home (unknown to them) could be opened for the party.

Things were well in hand until Bob decided they needed to grab some food, slowing things down 30 minutes.

Just as they were about to get their takeout they both received a text. It was from a son who couldn't make it to the party because of sick kids, saying, "Dear Mom and Dad, so sorry we couldn't be there to share your fun surprise party, which you must be enjoying so much right now."

It was still a fun party, and they appreciated the turnout of caring friends and family.

We had four children born within eight years and then for reasons unknown had a nine-year space until we were blessed with our last child. I was 39 years old when he was born in late December 1978.

This was a period when zero population had become a popular trend. You may have seen "Saturday's Warrior," a play that addressed themes of abortion and family planning.

A month or so before I gave birth, Grit told me my dear friend, Tina Peters, needed some help and that he would drive me to her house.

When we arrived he insisted on taking me in the back way, saying this was what she had instructed him to do. I followed him through the kitchen to her living room. When he opened the door, the room was full of at least 30 women.

I remember not being able to compute what was happening … it was such a shock.

Some of the women attending the shower thought, and some had even voiced that I was completely mad to be having a fifth child, especially when I had been out of the baby business for so long.

However, there they were, respecting my beliefs and caring enough about me to come and wish me well and ply me with friendship and lovely baby gifts.

I felt very blessed to be surrounded by all the wonderful new friends I had made in the eight years we had lived in Connecticut. They became even better friends as they watched that mischievously delightful child grow up during the other 27 years we lived there.

A year ago, our daughter-in-law surprised our son, Steve, on his birthday with a flash mob. It was so well done that ESPN's "Monday Night Coutdown" planners decided to air it on the show. If you are interested, it is still available to view on YouTube.

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In the video, our granddaughter's face is painted with a beautifully detailed butterfly.

To get away without suspicion, Barb told Steve she was going to the grand opening of her friend's Pilates store where Summer could get her face painted. In reality, they met other dancers at a park, practiced all morning, then ran by the studio for a quick face paint.

Amazingly, Steve's children were all involved in the week of dance practice, and not one gave it away.

Surprised or not, the party person has to feel good that everyone cared enough to go along with the intrigue.