family fun

Family Fun: How to Throw a Last-Minute Surprise Birthday Lunch

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My daughter Jessica had her 15th Birthday a few days ago. She has been really sick the last few weeks with complications from an auto immune disease. I asked my daughter how she wanted to spend her birthday. She told me that she really didn't feel like celebrating right now. She has barely been able to get out of bed and function. What a horrible way to spend a 15th birthday, right? Just a few months ago Jessica was saying how she wanted to  be surprised for her birthday. Now she didn't even want to celebrate it.

Jessica went back to school on her birthday after being out for a few days. She looked pale, had lost weight and genuinely was not feeling her best. There was a part of me that thought, this is going to be a low key birthday. I was actually relieved to think that I didn't have to have to make huge plans or make a big fuss. I know, I don't sound like a very fun mom, but I literally have been swamped with work and other projects.

My good friend called and asked what fun plans I had for Jessica's big day. I sounded like a lame mom when I told her that Jessica had missed so much school already from being sick and that I was just hoping she would just make it through the day. In other words, I had not made any special plans for my only daughter. My friend immediately told me that this was not okay. Jessica needed a birthday surprise and we needed to make it happen!

Don't you just love a good friend? They tell you like it is, and don't hold back. My friend suggested checking both her daughter and Jess out of school and taking them to a surprise birthday lunch. I immediately starting making plans.

Parties and activities do not need to be planned out. I literally threw these lunch plans together in 20 minutes. My friend went and picked up the girls at school and I went to the store to buy flowers and a card. We met at the restaurant and had a super fun birthday surprise lunch.

The important take away from this is to remember it isn't about how big we make things, but that we make little things BIG. Today was a good reminder that being spontaneous is important and fun! These types of activities can make a real difference in your life and in the life of those you love. Even though my daughter is still sick, I hope that today brought her joy. She was surprised in a small and simple way, and she more importantly knows she is loved and special. Priceless!

What have you done lately to surprise someone you love?


Jill Greenlaw has a banking background. She gave that up 17 years ago when she got married and started having kids. She loved being a stay-at-home mom while raising her four beautiful children. A few years ago, Jill went back to work in sales. She is now working for the Mom It Forward team as their Community Manager. She loves her job. Her interests include camping, motorcycling, boating, photography, reading, cooking, and traveling. Put her in flip flops anywhere warm and she is happy.




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