The Surprise Party that Wasn’t

The Surprise Party that Wasn’t

Yaakov had told me at least 100 times that he wants us to make him a surprise party for his 8th birthday–which is today. So, feeling like a good mom, yesterday afternoon I gave out roles and made it happen.
One brother took Yaakov food shopping for Shabbat to get him out of the house. One sister made our traditional birthday meal, macaroni and cheese, salad and a cake. Another sister made a movie out of photos of Yaakov with cool effects and went out to buy Ben and Jerry’s. Another sister made up a game based on Yaakov trivia. Another sister decorated our half-finished succah with balloons. And I cleaned up and set the table and supervised the tornado of surprise-birthday prep.
At 6:30 Yaakov came through the door and we all pelted him with balloons and sang “Happy Birthday.” Yaakov looked surprised. Or maybe stunned? Or maybe, it would be more accurate to say that he looked out of it.
10 minutes into the party Yaakov put his head down on the table and announced, “I’m tired. I don’t feel well.”
I gave Yaakov a hug and suggested he go lie down in my room for a few minutes.
“Eema, can you come lie down with me?”
So I put the cake in the freezer, left the rest of my family behind to eat macaroni and cheese and salad, and went to lie down with Yaakov, who promptly fell into a deep sleep. Which reminded me that sometimes being a good mom is about organizing and doing and making things happen. And sometimes it’s about not doing anything at all, just being a mom and being there.


  1. That is so sweet. Thank you for sharing that beautiful mommy moment.

  2. Mina Gordon

    Love it!!!
    This encapsulates the essence of motherhood!!

  3. i agree with mina
    you did well
    you didn’t express disappointment
    or urge him to get with the program that everyone worked so hard to create

    you respected his feeling and his need

    (lesson for me: sometimes we THINK we have to work so hard and make a game and a video and a cake and… but really the person wants much, much less)

  4. Hadassah Aber

    I just hope that he isn’t sick. Sometimes we need a birthday nap!

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