The Value of a Surprise

As part of the never-ending birthday celebration that is the month of March around here, we spent Saturday with my wife’s side of the family at a birthday brunch for Ruby, Edward, and their cousin Avery.  This seemed like the perfect excuse to get Ruby another present.

The problem was that her birthday was on the 15th, her big party was on the 17th, and The Muppets did not come out on DVD until the 20th.  Well, I ran out and bought it on the 20th, wrapped it up, and planned to give it to her on Saturday at party number three.  But suddenly, before Saturday could arrive, Friday showed up!

Friday is often movie night at our house, and we had a free Redbox code, so off we went to let Ruby pick out a kids movie, and then I would get to pick up a grown-up movie.  And of course, plastered all over the Redbox is the advertising for Ruby’s favoritest movie, The Muppets.  Obviously, this will be the movie that she will want to bring home.

So we’re standing at the Redbox, and all I can think about is the copy of the movie that I just bought, sitting at home all wrapped up.  I clearly do not want to waste $1.20 (or my free code, which is worth $1.20) on a movie that I have already paid for.  That goes against everything I believe in!  But on the other hand, if I tell her why we are not going to rent The Muppets, it will ruin the surprise.  And she loves surprises.  I love them too.  I would do anything to keep from spoiling a surprise.

So what should I do?  Add $1.20 to the cost of the movie I recently purchased?  Or tell Ruby that we already have it at home and have no present to give her at the party?  Or should I just tell her we are not getting The Muppets “because I said so,” which will seem suspicious to her because she is way too smart for my own good?  And then it finally hit me!  That $1.20 that I would be paying would not be for a movie that I already own.  I would not be spending that money for the movie at all.  I would be spending that money for the surprise.  A movie that is sitting on a shelf at home may not be worth an extra buck to me, but isn’t the surprised look on my daughter’s face when she gets something she loves totally worth any amount of money?  It is certainly worth $1.20.

And so I decided that I would let her rent The Muppets, even though we had a copy at home, because how much more excited would she be, having just seen it again, to receive it as a gift the next day.  I hit the “rent movies” button at the kiosk, and there I saw…that The Muppets was out of stock at the Redbox.  So we got The Smurfs instead.  And it was kind of terrible.  And we loved it.  And Ruby had a great time on Saturday too.  She loved her surprise.

Posted in Birthdays, Muppets, Parenting, Ruby.

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