So, as many of you know, I surprised my parents by going home for Christmas. Even though it was tricky keeping such a BIG secret for so looooonnnnngggg, it was definitely worth it! Seeing my family’s reactions is a memory that will be forever etched into my mind.
Basically, I led my parents to believe that I was traveling around China for the 3 week winter break from school. It broke my heart every time my mom mentioned how sad Christmas would be without me, but my secret afforded me the opportunity to be flippant about the whole thing. “Mom, you’ll be fine,” I’d say. As my departure date approached, I was frantic and, frankly, a bit paranoid. What if she knows? They aren’t even going to be surprised! and other similar thoughts raced through my head. Sitting in the Pudong airport, I called my mom to tell her one last lie before I would see her in person. Luckily, I got her voice mail to which I left a short and sweet farewell as I got on the “train for my trip around China.”
After landing in Houston, my amazingly sweet friend Anela picked me up from the airport, sans luggage I’m afraid (that’s a whole other story!). We went out for a yummy dinner and then stayed at her place for the night. The next morning, we made our way to Bryan. The entire ride my stomach was filled with butterflies and I couldn’t shake the nervousness that rose inside me. The last part of my plan was assisted by our family friend, Susie. She, Anela, and I crashed my parents’ work Christmas party at their house. I hid outside on the porch with Anela while Susie went in to tell my mom one final lie- that she needed to come outside for a Christmas present that was in her car. As I stepped out from behind the pillar, my mom almost fell over as she exclaimed, “What happened?!?” because for all she knew I was 8,000 miles away on a trip around China with my friends! Smiling sweetly, I said, “Nothing happened. Surprise! Merry Christmas!” Then came the waterworks. My mom grabbed me in a bear hug, sobbing and shaking uncontrollably. I have only seen her act like that one other time in my life, so it was a big deal!
After she calmed down, I went in to see my dad and brother. My dad’s reaction was shock. His mouth hung open and I faintly remember him saying, “Is this for real?” Yes, dad. This is real life. 🙂 Walking into the garage as my brother played ping pong, I noticed him bending down to pick up a ball. I cleared my throat to get his attention, and he did a double-take when he looked up. He was surprised, but his reaction was definitely more subdued than my parents’ reactions. All in all, I’d say Operation Christmas Surprise was a success! I would not have changed a thing. I will forever have those memories, and as they say, you can’t put a price on memories!