This year, Mister's birthday was on Sunday. Moreover, it was Super-Bowl Sunday. And, as always, it was Groundhog's Day. Only the first was really meaningful, but what it meant was a very full, busy day. Kate and Mister had to be at church early because Mister was helping teach a children's Sunday school class for the month. Then there was the service, an hour or two for a special lunch, an evening church service, where Mister was giving the short message, and then back to watch the rest of the Broncos/Seahawks Super-Bowl game—Kate and Mister usually watched as a concession to popular culture's excuse to get together with friends. But this year, Mister was actually excited about the game, since he grew up in Colorado and had fond memories of watching the Broncos games.
Considering the schedule, Kate realized that on Mister's birthday there was hardly going to be any good time for a birthday celebration. Saturday would have to be the day. She wanted to do something...get him something that would make this year memorable. Something that would be an honest-to-goodness surprise. And she had just the thing. As soon as she thought of it, she was committed. She would get him the thing that he had been longing for since they moved to their house. (Two and a half years before...) She would get him a lovely, sturdy dresser.
Of course, she didn't have a car to transport it. And she certainly wouldn't be moving it herself...into the car, or out of the car (once she got one), or into the house, or up their three flights of stairs into their bedroom. BUT. It was the perfect gift. Mister would be so pleased and surprised. She would simply have to work out the details and get people to help. That's all.
The week before Mister's birthday, Kate took a surreptitious shopping trip to the discount furniture warehouse where they had bought couches to provide for the previous year's Thanksgiving bash. She had remembered the amazing deals for slightly scarred furniture--that was right up their alley. After spending two years in an apartment, with a free dresser off craigslist...which subsequently (and quite literally) fell to pieces when they got ready to move; Kate and Mister were ready for something durable. And they didn't mind a little scratch here and there. Before leaving, Kate carefully calculated a gift money budget gleaned from Christmas and birthday checks. But at the store, roaming through the aisles of "sell as is" furniture, she almost despaired of finding something nice within that range.
When she paused before a gorgeous dresser that she had seen and admired online, she was completely shocked to see the list price was her price. Sure, there was a noticeable scratch right on top, and a few on the side, but it had all the drawers and was otherwise completely lovely and flawless. She wavered for a few minutes, wondered what time it was, and decided she would be a fool if she passed up this deal--the exact thing she had been looking for.
She felt terribly old. Marching down to the counter and deciding just like that. Buying furniture that wasn't from Salvation Army or Craigslist. (Of course, she knew she would still be doing plenty of that in the future.) But this was a moment of oldness...and wealth and prosperity. God had blessed them so richly to provide something like this that they could afford. After she paid, she arranged with the sales clerk to come pick it up on Saturday. Then she went out to her car and carefully tucked the receipt into the glove compartment and shook her head. I'm not old, she thought, I'm terribly, terribly young...I keep doing things without thinking ahead! How on EARTH am I going to pick that huge thing up on Saturday?!
Through the week, Kate expressed so much nervousness and worry about the weekend and Mister's gift that Mister kept asking questions about it. Kate tried hard to be vague, but she was worried that it wouldn't even be a surprise! But Saturday finally came, and a plan was all in place. Misterwent to the university for about three hours in the afternoon, and Kate had to drop him off and pick him up, which cut off about 10 minutes on each side. As soon as he got back, some new friends from church were supposed to arrive for dinner. Kate had asked them to come early to help unload the dresser, and they had agreed...which was wonderful. But that narrowed her time window by another half hour, and she had no idea what was the picking up process at the warehouse. Kate was rushing her way to a friend's house to borrow a van when she got a surprise call from Uncle saying that he was able to borrow a truck from a neighbor. What a Godsend! Kate breathed in relief. One more step eliminated...I don't know why I thought this would work!!! she thought frantically as she stepped on the gas.
At the warehouse, Kate and Uncle had to wait behind a family that seemed to have bought furniture for their entire house--presumably about 10,000 square feet in size! Kate tapped her feet anxiously and swayed back and forth as yet more dressers and beds and mirrors and chairs were loaded into a van. But, (another Godsend) the workers had pity on them and paused their search and retrieval for the mansion in order to get Mister's dresser in the truck. From then on, it was smooth sailing. Mostly.
Kate and Mister's guests pulled up right as Uncle and Kate were backing into their parking space. The husband, Peter, was young and strong and glad to help. But the dresser was very large and heavy, and Kate and Leah alternated between tentatively helping, hopping out of the way, and cringing as the heavy wooden corners narrowly missed pictures and threatened to gouge holes in the walls.
(this is not THE dresser--merely the same kind, and without
At last the deed was done. The dresser was in place, unwrapped, dusted. Mister was retrieved from the University. And was he surprised! Kate led him upstairs to see his gift, and he merely looked at the dresser in awe and some befuddlment--as if he couldn't figure out how it got there. When he asked, Kate laughed and said, "It was quite a project. And I had a lot of help." Then she looked at him tentatively, "I know that in reality the dresser is for both of us. And I know it's just one big gift...that you can't even unwrap. I hope it still feels special though...?"
"Definitely!" came Mister's confident reply. "Very special. And a great surprise. I wouldn't have guessed this even with all the clues you gave me! And one of the best parts is that I didn't have to do or plan anything!"
Kate smiled with satisfaction. All her work and her worry and her planning had paid off. It was all her gift for the man she loved most. And he was both surprised and delighted.THIS, she thought, is what real success feels like.