I dashed into the house, hurrying to change my clothes and throw on some make-up to head out for some frozen yogurt with my mom and brother and sister. I'd been in the same clothes all day, from school to watching the varsity boys' soccer game to a friend's house, so I couldn't wait to switch outfits. Running past my mom by the front door, promising to take only a minute before we could leave, I headed through the house to my bedroom. I had but one foot into the living room when-
A chorus of dozens of voices had aimed their shouting towards me, and I was startled to the depths of every cell. I jumped and had my hand over my mouth for the next five minutes, hardly able to believe what had happened and still dealing with the adrenaline rush from the shock. It was a couple days before my birthday and the last thing I'd expected on this typical schoolnight was to run into my house and collide with a huge party for me. Almost all of my good friends from my high school, various groups, different ages, some family mixed in... they were all standing in my house. On a Tuesday night. And there were streamers. Cake. Presents on a table. Cameras were flashing, capturing my joy and disbelief. It was the biggest gathering of my friends I'd ever had in my honor and at my house. The boy I had just started dating was standing back at first to let my best girl friends rush to give me hugs and bubble over with the story of how they pulled off the surprise, then came towards me with a sly smile and gave me the longest ilikeyou hug. A sign hung up on the wall declared:
Happy Sweet Sixteen.
Still one of the best birthdays of my life, and always will be.