“Hi, Mom. What? No, about 2. I’m on my way–I’ll be there soon.”

Smack, went the phone, as soon as that last word was out of Michelle’s mouth.

We were driving back from Eastport 16 Cinemas on 82nd. We’d just seen Pan’s Labyrinth, an incredibly brilliant and beautiful movie. I had turned sixteen the previous night. The sky was blue, and even though the traffic had been jammed, we were both feeling great.

Michelle, however, really had to go to the bathroom. And though we had passed countless fast food restaurants and grocery stores that would have had public restrooms, we pulled into the parking lot of the Milwaukie Marketplace and stepped into the Starbucks. I perused the selection of coffee mugs and half-attentively dropped some eaves on what seemed to be a job interview. Michelle came out, and we drove to my house. We kissed in the driveway, then I got out of the car, ready to go inside and relax for a little while, maybe go out and get my new computer case.

And all of a sudden, a dozen of my friends came running across the lawn from behind my house, at the head of the group Floof, Mark, and Nick.

Like that, I fell into shock.

They paraded me indoors. Nick carried me on his shoulders, and I saw that they’d completely decorated my entryway with streamers and balloons. Food covered the kitchen counter.

And there were twelve of my friends hanging around my house, smiling and laughing.

Surprise parties just don’t  happen. They’re things of movies, of television. People don’t actually hold surprise parties; yet, here I was, in the midst of one.

So we laughed. And we ate. And we talked, and I opened gifts, and we played Risk.

It was grand.

To be honest, I haven’t felt nearly as loved by so many people as I did then. To realize that, for the last week, my friends had been planning this surprise party in order to make my happy for my sixteenth birthday… wow. It was spectacular, and I loved it.

My friends: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Due to my remarkable obliviousness, I had no idea anything was going on until you raced across my yard. It was a fantastic day, and an excellent sixteenth birthday party. I really appreciate that you took the time to put this together and then come to it. Thank you so much. You guys don’t know how happy that made me. :)

I’m truly blessed to have friends like you.