I'm sorry, people, I lied to you. I had to, you see, because of the risk.
10 years ago, for my Dad's 50th birthday, we brought my brother, Chris, over from Alaska, and put him in a big cardboard box, and surprised my dad.
It's not hard to keep a secret from Dad. He lives with his head buried in the proverbial sand, and although everyone around him must have been giggling and whispering and giving rhe game away - he remained clueless, and so it was a great surprise, and my dad was bemused and surprised, and of course happy.
My mother isn't quite the same kettle of fish. She is an inherantly suspicious body, and knowing what people are like with secrets, it wasn't worth the risk. The more people knew, the greater likelihood of a slip up, so nobody knew. And I lied, of course. A lot.
Mum doesn't like lying. She is the washyourmouthoutwithsoap sort of mother, but she didn't seem to mind yesterday. She was too busy sobbing!
Dad kept his bemused 'I don't think this is really happening' face on. And of course, I hugged them and kissed them and it was the best thing ever.
Of course, then I had to go to the House and say hi to all of the other unsuspecting people. There were varying reactions, from gasps, to shrieks, to Joe's comment of "Wow! Are you serious???".
Ireland is cold, people. It is extremely cold. And it's wet, and dreary, and for God's sake, why would you choose it over the sun and the surf and the sea and the sand...? But it's home - and there are all of these incredible people that I hugged, and they hugged me back, and I felt oh so excited deep down inside, because I was home.