I think milestone birthdays call for an extra special celebration. My sister, Amanda, had a milestone birthday earlier this year, turning 50, so I wanted to do something really special and I wanted it to be a surprise. That is really a challenge since she has a gift for figuring everything out.

Well, I was successful this year. Amanda really thought it was just the two of us going on her birthday weekend get-away. She was convinced I was driving us somewhere and had no idea that my mother and our friend, Robin, were going with us on the trip.

I told her I would be driving and since I don’t drive across mountains or in cities or across bridges, she probably thought we were going to Athens for the weekend. 

She kept asking if she was going to be driving on the trip. I also noticed her looking at my dirty car and she kept asking if I was going to get it washed. Mom said she told her she couldn’t believe we were going somewhere in my nasty car. Of course, that made me determined not to wash it.

The morning we were to leave, Amanda was up an hour early ready to go. Since our friend, who was really the one driving on the trip, wasn’t supposed to arrive until a little later to pick us up, I had to keep stalling her. I finally hid in the bathroom and sent her a text that I was in there having “issues.”

When Robin sent me a text that she was coming down the driveway, I sent my mother a text (I had her hiding in another side of the house) and told her to go outside. There was a lot of texting going on that morning.

I yelled for Amanda to come on and out the door we went. Mom and Robin were outside smiling by Robin’s car. They both had on T-shirts with “Fifty Squad” on it, matching the shirt I had on.

Amanda saw me going out ahead of her, as she was telling her husband goodbye, and she later said was wondering who I was talking to. I was telling Amanda and Mom how she was driving me crazy trying to leave earlier.

We kept the surprise up, not telling her where we were going. We stopped first in Chattanooga for brunch and Amanda thought that was the final destination. After we finished eating, we gave her a card with details on our final destination: Nashville.

Yes!! I surprised her. Finally. It took 50 years but I did it. She was really surprised and maybe she finally realizes that she has the best sister ever!

As we get older, we have found that “experiences” and making memories are the best birthday presents of all. We all have enough stuff and we really enjoy the time we spend together and he memories that we make.

Angela Gary is an editor with MainStreet Newspapers Inc. She can be reached at angela@mainstreetnews.com.

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