I organized a surprise birthday party for a good friend last night. It was a nice occasion with pizza, barbecue, and all the fixings as well as a four layer chocolate cake. It was held on the beach with the sun setting as a backdrop. Tailgate party at it's finest!
The hardest part was not giving away the surprise. I did everything I could to keep him occupied while one of my Al-Anon friends named C. took the food to the beach to set everything up. It was fun to see his face when we drove up and he walked right up to a bunch of people saying "Happy Birthday". He hadn't a clue.
I had to take a personal inventory several times during this party. Once, because C. was late getting the food to the party. Another time because C. left the barbecue sauce behind. And yet again because C. left some of the chafing dishes at home. The thought that kept running through my head was, "To rely upon another is to be disappointed." What a crappy thing to think when C. was doing whatever he could to make sure everything was set up. It's my perfectionistic side coming through--wanting things to be done the way that I think they need to be done. I decided after a few minutes of feeling angry that my ego had taken control and was working hard at making me indignant and judgmental.
I was glad that I went over and thanked C. for all that he had done. It helped to let go of the negative feelings. And it helped me to have fun at a party that wasn't about me.