My son is 12 today. We had a little party for him last night with friends, mostly his father's and mine. It is the fate of the summer birthday children; to be stuck having birthdays with mostly adults. It seems everyone disperses when the school year ends and there are no children to be had for a damn birthday party.

The birthdays always stress me out, but I guess they are part of the challenges of parenthood. My birthday present for both of my children (my daughter's birthday is in August) is a surprise. We are going on a trip to an undisclosed destination. They know we are going somewhere, but I have kept the location a secret from them for an entire month and plan to continue the ruse until we board the plane next weekend. Some of my friends do not find the joy in my secret plot, but I think surprises are fun and they become less and less frequent the older we get. So I will maintain the charade until the plane takes off and provide an update on the outcome—and the kids' reactions—when I return.