It was midnight when I finally decided I had to stop. To continue working on my project would risk errors and omissions. I was tired.
It is coming together well. And no, I can’t tell you what it is… C.C. might hear! And it’s a secret.
Ask anyone, I’m not good with secrets. Especially my own. I get so excited about what I’m keeping secret I feel compelled to reveal all if only to release the tension building inside me!
Take Alexis, my eldest daughter’s, visit home in a couple of weeks. When we’d booked her flights last week, we agreed to not tell her sister.
On Sunday, when my youngest daughter and her boyfriend were here to watch the GreyCup Game, I let it slip, I had a secret.
“What is it?” my youngest daughter asked.
“I can’t tell.”
That set off a torrent of questions and insistence that I must tell. That it wasn’t fair that I wouldn’t.
I didn’t. Tell. But man, I really wanted to.
And then, on Monday night, after figuring out Lele’s life is way too busy to try to spring a surprise visit from her sister on, Alexis resigned herself to telling.
No more secret and we can actually figure out calendars to ensure we have time for everyone without having to make up reasons for wanting to know everything she’s doing when her sister is here!
But I’ve still got the project I’m working on for C.C. this Christmas. I’m dying to tell him. I’m dying to get his feedback as I work on it, to share in my excitement of creating it.
And I can’t.
That would ruin the surprise. And everyone loves surprises, right?
I do not like surprises.
It is quite possibly because I am a control freak, a better surprise giver than surprise getter (as long as I can keep the secret of the surprise from getting out!).
It is also possible that my aversion to surprises stems from what I once called the uncertainties of my childhood. From the many times my father would plan a trip and somewhere between Point A and Point B, decide everything had to change. We had to go somewhere else. Or, worse yet, stop the trip completely and return home because he was not happy with something that had transpired along the way and determined the whole trip was a bust.
My father was not much of a planner in the first place so trips were naturally fraught with uncertainties. Like, where would we stay that night?
I remember in my teens travelling behind the Iron Curtain when it still stood as a bastion of communism. We were travelling on our British passports because my father didn’t want the Canadian government, for whom he worked, to know that we were exploring the world behind the curtain.
Problem was, while he’d planned for the subterfuge, he hadn’t planned ahead. In Prague, we couldn’t find a hotel and stayed instead at a youth hostel complete with no door on the women’s sleeping room which was also the access point through which all men had to pass to get to their sleeping quarters.
It was not a comfortable sleep.
He also hadn’t planned on the government learning of our trip. When the security police came to visit, my father was vocal in his opinions of their prying into his private affairs which did not bode well with his security clearances.
My father always had strong opinions and loved to challenge the status quo.
I used to think it was because my father didn’t like to plan things out when in fact, it was more that he loved surprises. He loved spontaneity and following the call of the unknown. He loved the freedom of the road, the uncertainty of a destination and the exploration of possibility without limiting it to the known.
My father taught me well the art of suprise.
I am creating a surprise for C.C. this Christmas. I want to tell him all about it. To give it to him early. To engage him in its creation.
Because part of the creation is the gift of not knowing the outcome. Of not having a script that says, “when I do this [give him his gift], he’ll say this…”
Part of the joy of the surprise is keeping the secret.
And I do like to surprise myself with my capacity to grow and shift and learn to be 100% accountable for my journey.
And part of my accountability with the gift, is to keep it a secret until December 25th.
But wait! His birthday is only 5 days away! Maybe I’ll make it a birthday present!
We’ll see how long I last with the surprise!