columnist

Stacey Hatton: Surprise me? Surprise me not

Updated: 2014-02-04T20:01:12Z

By STACEY HATTON

Special to The Star

After years of personal research, I have concluded there are two types of people. Those who don’t like surprises and those who … BOO!

You’re welcome.

There have been several events recently which made me delve further into the topic: First, the cancellation of “return to school day” after a very long winter break. I realize it was frigid, but has anyone heard of facemasks and ski pants?

If Green Bay Packers fans can sit out in 5 degree weather for four hours to watch an outdoor football game, I think kids can handle standing at the bus stop for a few minutes.

My next “surprise” assessment came when I saw how my children react to wrapped presents under the Christmas tree.

I have one daughter who is pretty good at waiting because she already appreciates the element of surprise, while the other girl has all her gifts secretly opened and price compared on the first day I’ve put them under O Tannenbaum.

Yin enjoys surprises, and Yang just doesn’t understand why they’re necessary. And I’m not saying that one way is better than the other. That’s just the only way I allow myself to stereotype people. Forget political or religious differences; this is the meat and potatoes of life right here.

When I was in grade school, I thought surprises were fabulous. I could wait and wait until the anticipation would build to a frenzy in my stomach. That way, when it was time to open presents, the surprise seemed much grander.

Across the room, meanwhile, my brother already knew the contents of his packages, so he was feigning excitement and comparing my goods to his. I’m fairly sure he has given that up now in adulthood, but I can’t be certain.

Things started to change for me around the time I got engaged to be married. I desperately wanted to be surprised, yet I wanted to have a ring that I would like.

When I felt our relationship was heading that direction, I started throwing out subtle hints about what I preferred in metals and shapes. Sometimes you have to hit men over the head to make sure they catch on. I didn’t want my new love to miss these cues.

So when we went on a beach vacation with my family on Valentine’s Day and my fiancé-to-be asked me to wake up early to go watch the sunrise on the most romantic day of the year — surprise! — the surprise was ruined.

So I feigned surprise, but I forgave him when he pulled out the most beautiful ring I had ever imagined! I could handle this kind of surprise.

But my viewpoint shifted the night we went to the hospital to deliver my first child. I was 40 weeks pregnant, and like every first-time mother, scared out of mind.

“Everything will be just fine,” my best friend said over the phone before I left the house.

My husband rubbed my hand in the car and said, “We’ve been waiting so long for this day!”

And I knew that in just a few hours I would have the opportunity to meet my darling little girl, so with everyone’s comforting I began to calm down a bit.

The nursing staff was friendly and hooked me up to the heart monitors. First mine, then the baby’s. I was so nervous I didn’t even notice the difficulty the nurse was having locating my baby’s heartbeat.

And the staff never did.

Surprise.

Well, I can honestly say I haven’t tolerated surprises in the last 10 years since the loss of my first girl. My entire world was redefined forever. I am no longer that person, and actually I don’t want to be.

Through much family support and love, counseling and medication to help with anxiety and depression, I have learned to find joy and laughter again in my life. Plus, my dear children here on earth help me find light and direction more than they will ever know.

Perhaps I might like surprises someday. Maybe a surprise 50th birthday party in several years? That might be fun.

But I guess that wouldn’t be a surprise now, would it?

REACH HER AT: www.NurseMommy

Laughs.com

Stacey Hatton is a former nurse, mother of two and writer. Her book “Not Your Mother’s Book … on Being a Parent” can be found at www.NurseMommy Laughs.com and bookstores.

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