The Best Surprise Party Ever
Daniel turns 36 today. We celebrated last night with some pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds (rhubarb crumble, lemon chess, and salted caramel apple), this morning Nico and I made The Greatest Waffle Ever Recipe from Serious Eats (which was great indeed), and tonight we're having an early dinner at Madison Square Eats.
Daniel's not one to expect expensive gifts or a big celebration. Give him some food, family time, an afternoon nap, and he's happy. But for his 30th birthday—what now feels like ages ago—I rented a house in Cape Cod for him and our closest friends. I convinced him we were going for a family reunion, and even though we drove up with two friends who claimed to be going on a trip to Boston together, he, not one to ask a million questions (like, ahem, someone else), went along with the plan. I even recall some very excited emails about fishing poles, grilling gear, bike racks, and a motorcycle license because I also convinced him he was getting a Vespa. Ha! Gullible guy.
When we pulled into the driveway at the house in Cape Cod, all of our friends jumped out, party hats on, cheesy 30th birthday decorations taped up. Daniel looked bewildered at first, and then, elated. For the first few seconds, I think he seriously thought our friends had crashed our family reunion (and was secretly psyched). I love surprising people.
As expected, the weekend revolved around good food. We had a lobster bake, grilled steaks (which Daniel made himself), pancake breakfasts and lots of wine. There were also beach trips, riveting card games, rounds of charade, Scrabble and Cranium, late-night dance parties with choreographed routines, bike rides and kayaking, balloon-stuffed bras, and even a man-shaped, speedo-wearing birthday cake in honor of the birthday boy's Brazilian roots.
Our friends have always felt like family, and now that many of us are parents, we can't spend weekends away together, let alone see each other on a regular basis. I'd love to pull off a similar surprise some day and round up the same group and new friends, too. Since someone's 40th birthday is now less than 5 years away (sad, but true!), my wheels are turning again.