Have you ever done a surprise for someone and it has backfired.?
I can recall a surprise birthday that backfired terribly.

Yeah. I'm a fan of surprises. Some have turned out very well, others not so well. But I think that's what surprises are all about: not knowing, walking through the unknown.

I can talk about two opportunities that are still family anecdotes. On one occasion, on Mother's Day, we invented traveling to the home of a grandmother who lived far from the city and we didn't tell her because we wanted to surprise her. I remember that we prepared everything: food, drink, gifts. I had spent the previous day making passports, games and cards. I had told my mother not to say anything to my grandmother to surprise her. On Sunday, Mother's Day, we left very early, loaded with everything for the party. After a three-hour drive, we arrived at my grandmother's house and found that it was closed. We knocked and knocked on the door and nobody would open it. When we decided to call her on the phone, she told us that another of her daughters had arrived and taken her on a trip. OH! We were the ones who were surprised. My parents wanted to kill me.

Another opportunity was my mother's 50th birthday. We had all decided to give him a party. Every detail, food, drink, game, we prepared it without her noticing. She believed that it was a small meeting at home, nothing of the other world. When the day came, little by little, with the guests and everything we had done, she realized that the celebration was big. She was surprised and happy, but in one of those moments she shared with her friends, a mariachi began to sound. My mom was stiff, white and fell to the floor. We all ran to pick her up from the floor scared!  We went crazy thinking that something bad had happened to her. It had only been a blackout of emotion: she had always dreamed of having a mariachi brought to her. Although we were very happy, at first we were very frightened. 

That's why, every time we go to someone's house for a surprise, there's no shortage of people saying: And if she's not like her grandmother. Or if we surprise someone, say: the only thing missing is that they faint like their mother. hahahaha. 


I can only think of one time that a surprise of mine didn't work out so well.

In a little over a week, my wife and I will be married for 30 years.

Close to ten years ago, (so we'd been married at least 20 years by now), I wanted to do something special for her.

There's a rather nice hotel on the coast within an hour and a half drive from where we lived. Both of us had remarked that we'd like to stay there one day as we driven by it a few times on other trips. It would most likely be expensive, but since it sat on a private beach and every room faced the ocean with floor to ceiling windows, it would have a view most hotels didn't. It would be a singular experience.

Well, despite talking about it, it never happened. Rooms start at around $200 and go from there. It just seemed to be too much of an expense.

Somehow, this particular time I discovered that the hotel was discounting their rooms, which put them into the lower $100 range, like $125-$150 a night. Still more than what we would normally try to spend, but considerably cheaper than regular price.

Without telling my wife, I decided to buy the tickets. I think it was for two nights, so somewhere between $250-$300. Because of the discount, the reservations were non-refundable. I figured she would be delighted to go, so didn't think anything about it.

Well, the time came to tell her. I think it was the day before. When I did, she wasn't happy at all, but upset. She told me she didn't want to go. I told her they were on sale, that I has still spend x amount, and that they were non-refundable. We'd just lose that money.

For the first time in our marriage, she didn't care the money would be wasted. She didn't want to go. I told her we'd talked about going a few times and that I thought she would be thrilled. It was then she told me, "I'm not. I don't like surprises."

Really? I'd done other things, like brought home flowers, or even traded older cars for newer ones while she was visiting relatives to surprise her. She hadn't ever told me she didn't like surprises.

Well, we didn't go. We've still never gone. We just lost the money. I still try to surprise her now and then, mostly with a gift for Christmas or her birthday, but nothing like a trip or something like that. So far, she's not said she doesn't like surprises in those instances. I'm thinking I just caught her at a bad time. I haven't been able to muster up enough bravery to try it again. If there ever is a next time, though, if she says she doesn't want to, I'll go by myself.