Anyone who knows Matty and I knows that surprises are our thing. We're always trying to one-up each other and I have to admit (begrudgingly) that I am on a losing streak. There was that time he got my family to drive down to Austin on my birthday, our engagement, of course, this past Christmas when he surprised me with a keyboard and a suuuuuper pretty dress...though, I did get him really good when I showed up at his tattoo appointment in New York & he thought I was in Africa...
Maybe we are a bit obsessive about this...?
Even though I'm not "winning," there is a certain perk to being on the other side of the surprise. This weekend, for example, when Matty and all of our friends arranged a secret baby shower in Manhattan Beach for this 34-week-growing child of ours. All I knew was that it was a brunch and it started at noon. Matty had left for work and was sending several "poor me" texts to throw me off the trail.
But lo and behold, there he is at the door when we arrive. He leads me down a hallway and I see tables and balloons set up in a backyard and I'm already tearing up before everyone yells, "SURPRISE!"
And it isn't a typical surprise.
When Matty and I got pregnant I was suddenly more aware of the largest thing lacking in our lives: community. I couldn't understand why because for a full year before we moved to LA I prayed most for the people we would meet...the ones who would become family. And at that point in the pregnancy we did have some beautiful relationships here, but the circle was small and the distance made things difficult. I wanted so badly for our son to be born into community and to be honest, I couldn't see how that would happen in the time we had left, especially when we'd already been in LA for a year, genuinely longing for these relationships to form.
We'd been going to church at ZOE for quite a few months and felt like it was the place for us, but Matty's work schedule made our visits sporadic and to be honest, we were a bit nervous that fully committing to this church would take away our "hustle for the dream" time. Funny thing is, once we decided that it was time to fully commit, that hustle got a lot easier...but that's another story. One that's still in the making :)
The people in these photos have loved us from day 1. We've formed deep and genuine relationships in such a short time and the best part is that this group is far from exclusive. Anyone can come in and feel like family because the circle is never closed. I never felt like I had to work my way in to be accepted...I just was.
So, I guess that's the best surprise of all. I didn't even think I'd have a baby shower, especially such a beautifully-planned event with a grapefruit-ginger mocktail and Bahn Mi sandwiches and chocolate cake that I can't stop thinking about!! Matty certainly got me good (I cried, which is worth at least 50 points), but I never expected these friendships to be so fast and so good. And this is what it feels like to be on the losing team, so be it.
Thank you to Jasmine, Cara, Maggie, Amy, Ashley, Bianca, Hannah, Chelsea, Nathan, Joel, Justin, Yah Yah, Katelynn, Makenna, and Matty. (And to those who couldn't be there and sent texts, gifts, and hugs!) Love you all from the bottom of my heart!