Family Challenge: Surprise!

My mom often sent me little notes in my school lunches. They’d include a hand-drawn eyeball, a heart, and the letter U. I’d see the colored paper when I opened my lunch and quickly snatch it up, crumpling it before my friends would see and tease me (I was in 4th grade and sooo incredibly mature). Secretly, though, I loved them. And I reciprocated by leaving her little surprise notes throughout the house; in her makeup bag, in the silverware drawer, in a pair of socks. The little surprises didn’t stop at notes. Sometimes I would come out of the bathroom in the morning to find my bed already made. I’d do the same for her. She’d unload the dishwasher when it was my turn; I’d dust the house as a surprise for her. These little thoughtful gestures were guaranteed to create smiles and were genuine acts of kindness.

For October’s Family Challenge, I encouraged my family to bestow little random surprises to family members. It could be in our immediate family or to other relatives. So far, it’s been really fun! It’s been wonderful giving and receiving surprises, making me nostalgic for those experiences with my mom and also so glad to have created this family tradition with my children. I hope it lasts well past this October!

My daughter sporting her surprise bracelets from her big brother

My daughter sporting her surprise bracelets from her big brother

One evening, I found my 10-year-old not in bed, not yet in his pajamas, and feverishly working on something. He was making bracelets for his sister. She hadn’t asked; he hadn’t been prompted. He just decided to do it. Once he was done, I watched him sneak into her room (she was already tucked in and ready for bed). He asked if he could turn on her light and I heard him give her the bracelets. Her squeal made his time well worth it; the pride in his eyes the following days as she wore them was heartwarming.

While we see my parents every 3-4 months, we only go to their house once every 1-2 years. During our visit, my six-year-old daughter had a blast leaving little hidden love notes for my mom throughout her house. Two weeks later, my Mom is still texting me saying she’d found another note and how much it had made her day. I share each of her texts with my daughter and my daughter grins ear to ear. And I know my mom loves experiencing “our” tradition with her granddaughter.

Doing a simple two-minute chore for someone else is a great surprise!

Doing a simple two-minute chore for someone else is a great surprise!

One morning, I made my son’s bed for him, as I knew it was a chore he hated. I was making lunches when he came behind me and enveloped me in a hug. He knew who the surprise giver was and his spontaneous hug was truly welcome.

Foot Massage Pic

An amazing surprise from my husband!

I left a “Top 10 Reasons I Love You” note in a notebook I knew my husband regularly used. He was having a bad day when he found it, so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect to be the recipient of some words of adoration. My husband surprised me with an adorable note on my mirror and a foot rub that night; heaven!

These acts of kindness and random surprises were inexpensive (if not free), easy to do, and made the recipients smile. What surprises can you do in your family? And if you get your kids involved, what surprises can they come up with? I’d love to hear them all! Comment below and tag #TKsurprisechallenge