A few weeks ago Megha asked me about organizing a baby shower for Lamia. I had thought about it myself, but I admit I was super happy when Megha came to me without having to start asking around.
Megha: Sure we do that! – Lamia is taking care of all of us.
She pulled together a little core team of folks to help (Lilian, Shoko and Marie-Emilie) and we set the day to today. Funny enough, a date where Megha herself was not able to join because she is still on vacation in Europe. But she had set up the principle framework for the day and the other girls took care of the rest (with a little help from me).
Things seemed to be spoiled when a few days after Lilian had sent out the invitation Lamia messaged to me in the office:
Lamia: So, baby shower on the 16th?
Lamia: Hosoya-san just came to me and told me he might not be able to make it.
Leo: I have no idea what he is talking about…
I did not tell the girls, because I did not want to discourage them given how much work they had and were about to put into this. I somehow hoped Lamia would forget about Hosoya-san’s chattiness. And she did not ask again. Time passed and today the big day was here.
The question I had not answered for myself was: how would I lure Lamia into the condo function room I had booked without making her suspicious? And how would I get all the things over there that I had promised to arrange: some plates and of course chilled drinks. The plates were easy: Agnes brought them to the room when we took Oskar to his swim lesson this morning. But we could not store the drinks in the cooling bags until late afternoon. These had to go later.
My hope had been that Lamia would rest while I took Oskar for his nap and Agnes (who kindly agreed to help) would be able to carry everything to the room. But Lamia only slept for 20 minutes and there was no way for Agnes to pull this off without Lamia getting suspicious.
At 2:45 pm I saw Marie-Emilie downstairs at the condo entrance, accepting the food delivery from Delifrance.
The clock was ticking.
Now: on Sunday afternoons Lamia always wants to go out for ice cream or some other activity. This time she suggested to go to the Starbucks at the nearby Nex mall. The shower was set for 4 pm and we had asked the guests to be there by 4:15 latest. So if Lamia, Oskar and I went to Nex, had the coffee and returned, this was something that could work. But it was heavily dependent on by when Oskar woke up and how quickly we had him ready to leave.
And it was not quick today.
In the meantime, and without Lamia noticing, I had sneaked cooling bags and some stuff for decoration to Agnes which she hid in her room. We just had to leave the place so Agnes could bring the missing pieces over to the function room.
I was messaging Marie-Emilie:
Leo: I will take Lamia to Nex for Starbucks.
Marie-Emilie: Ok… so you will be back at 4?
Leo: Maybe a little later. Hard to say timing wise. But the only way to make it a surprise.
At that time the guests had not arrived, yet.
Half an hour later we still had not left the house, which meant going to the mall and coming back would lead to a rather big delay. I did not want our guests having to wait for so long.
Leo: With diaper change and everything this might take a little bit.
Marie-Emilie: Ok… maybe you can make it slow, skip Nex and come directly here.
Leo: I will try to redirect.
I told Lamia I did not feel like going to Starbucks and that I wanted to take photos of us and Oskar for my dad, who is currently in the hospital.
See: the best lies are the ones which have actual truth in them – I did want to take those photos for my dad and it looked like I could use this now to hit two birds with one stone.
Just before 4 pm I read from Marie-Emilie’s texts that the guests started to appear. And we were on our way downstairs and there was a risk we would run into some of them. I tried to take a route away from the entrance area, but Oskar did not want to take the back door. Alright: you do not argue with a 2-year old on the way to his playground :) – it was a narrow play.
Marie-Emilie: Pam saw you :D
Yes, I had seen Pam, too, but at that time she was still far away and Lamia did not notice anything.
We arrived at the condo’s tennis court, from which you do not see people arriving, and took some lovely photos for my dad:
I love the next photo – but wished it was focused.
But then again, I love this one, too:
All the while, I got updates from Marie-Emilie by quickly glancing on my Apple Watch (it’s awesome – thanks for asking). The room continued to fill with people…
Marie-Emilie: Fukutome-san + Jonathan and family.
Marie-Emilie: Agnes left to get the drinks.
Leo: Okay, we are at the playground now. Then will come.
These two always make great models…
Marie-Emilie: Keeping everybody hidden…
Leo: Getting closer. Another 5-6 min.
We were on the way back from the playground and I vaguely told Lamia I wanted to take some more photos at the pool, which is on the same level as the function room everybody was waiting in. We walked below the pool and just had to take the elevator one level up…
Leo: We’re now below you.
Leo: Coming now!!!
Marie-Emilie: Ok cool – silence here :)
I was guiding Lamia and Oskar towards the pool, passed the function room, stopped, smiled at a puzzled Lamia, opened the door and led her into the seemingly unoccupied room. You need to know that this room has sliding doors at the back which hide a little storage area for chairs.
When we came in, the doors slid open and from behind them everybody poured into the room.
Lamia was… *yes* surprised.
Kimiko caught the moment of entrance nicely on above photos.
Here a photo of said sliding door in the function room a little earlier, with Marie-Emilie texting me (we entered from the right and 15 people hid behind the doors).
By the way: Lamia confirmed she did not see this surprise coming. While she had been wondering in the morning whether what Hosoya-san had said was correct, my behavior (and let’s face it: in her eyes utter inactivity throughout the day) did not indicate this event was really in the works.
More photos of the actual shower in my next entry :)