A Surprise For Dougie

I love a good surprise (especially for the cutest dude on the planet).

For Doug’s 30th I tried to think of the things that Doug would like. He isn’t a real fussy guy, so when planning, I tried to make sure the roster included a bit of everything that makes him happy. Once everything was set and I went through the schedule, I realized it said so much about the person he is and what’s important to his heart…

We started the weekend with a BBQ at Doug’s parent’s house. We grilled out and played yard games. Was so happy that his sister/brother-in-law/kiddos were able to make the trip from Wisconsin to help celebrate. It was so sweet to see them and Doug’s parents catching up with our friends. We all spent time at their house throughout college…they were the host for many meals and BBQs just like this, so I loved that all these years later we could bring that full circle and fall right back into the routine.

Family is deeply important to Doug. I remember one of the first nights that we had one of our chat-until-it’s-1 am-sessions he introduced me to the whole cast of characters. He told me about his hard-working dad, creative mom, sweet sister, hilarious brother-in-law, kind brother, fun sister-in-law…I remember meeting them for the first time and thinking all of those descriptions were so correct. The family has grown a lot since then, and it’s been so beautiful to have a front row seat to Doug being an uncle. These people have helped form the individual that Doug is and is becoming so I was so glad that many were able to be there.

Quality time is one of Doug’s love languages. Anyone that knows him well knows he loves to pour into people, so that aspect of who he is makes lots of sense to me. Some QT with some of his people was the perfect way to kick-off the birthday festivities.

After an evening under bubble lights (you can’t buy many other forms of magic for $30 my friends), we head to our friend’s house. Special shouts to Steve and Kari for being our generous hosts. They’re the best. We drank coffee, ordered in, recalled sweet memories. Our dear friends from California flew in to be there which made it all the more special. It was so nice to slumber party like the good ol’ days. This is something we have down to a true science.

I continue to be grateful for this group of people who have supported Doug and I throughout our entire relationship. They have been sounding boards, cheerleaders, confidants, party planners, and most importantly, constant presences in our lives who show up no questions asked. Doug always refers to this group of people as part of his family. I truly believe that family is the one you’re given, and the one you choose…so very glad that this group of gems is part of ours.

When thinking through the activities that we would do, I had to put my Doug thinking cap on. One of my favorite things is that when he enjoys something he reallllly enjoys that thing. So, in that spirit our activities included an escape room, a happy place, and a comedy show. The escape room was the best one that we have ever done. This was a professional level situation and he was THRILLED. After the escape room we went over to Big Star for some lunch on the patio. After tacos and margs, we went to happy place which is essentially a big warehouse that is transformed into different rooms for you to ‘play’ in. It’s full of random things like a room of confetti and an adult size ball pit. From there we head over to an improv show at ComedySportz to end the night. Him laughing all day made me so very happy.

Each activity reminded me of Doug in some small way. The escape room showed the balance that I love about him…half structured, analytical, critical thinking and the other half people focused, fun, and adventurous. He was in all his glory at the improv show. He was on the improv team in college and we all loved sitting in the audience watching him do his thing. What I loved most was that he has terrible stage fright. He would be a wreck before each show, but once it started fell into the groove. As a member of the audience you would never know that the thought of it made him nervous. I was so proud to see him bravely try something located well outside his comfort zone.

If you were curious if he had a good time…

Loved how elements of Doug were unintentionally woven through his celebration. Thankful for who he is, the people who surround him, and a few days to explore some of his favorite things.

Happy Birthday Douglas, we all love you so very much.