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          “I’ll just order the cake and...” Mom’s voice halted as I walked into the kitchen where she and Deryl were eating breakfast.
          I smiled to myself and thought that Mom must be planning a party for my birthday.  On the twenty ninth of December, I would be twelve years old.
          Later in the day, we drove to Farmington.  It was Saturday and the business district was busy. Mom and I were walking down the sidewalk, between shops, when we met JoAnne, a girl from my class.
          “I need to ask you something, Jo Anne,” Mom said as she pulled the girl to one side, where I couldn’t hear.
          I stood in the middle of the sidewalk as pedestrians passed by.
Mom came back to my side.  Joanne waved and walked away.
          “Mom, are you planning a surprise party for me?” I asked with a big smile.
          Mom was livid!  “How can you ask me that?  Why do you think everything is for you?  You are always so selfish! I am having a New Years Eve party for Deryl!”
          The smile was gone.  Inside, I felt grieved, and emotionally another wall went up between Mom and I.  I shut down on her.  If the party was for Deryl then why wasn’t I involved in the planning?  Why would she involve my friends, and not me?
          On the day of my birthday, I walked into a house full of young people from my class.
          Mom was all smiles and happy.  She had pulled off the perfect “surprise!”
          I enjoyed the party.  But I decided surprises should only come in packages of love!