Looking back on my favourite things I did for Hillary, three that stand out are the three times I surprised her. I mean, I'm know I surprised her other times, but there were three events that would be referenced repeatedly throughout our marriage.

She would bring each of them up unprompted occasionally. Something would have reminded her of one of these events and she'd comment again at how effective it had been. Or how much fun the thing was.

The first one of those came shortly after we moved into our final home together at Carina Place. The second would actually be only a couple of months later. The last of the three big ones would be in November of 2012 when Isaac was just under a year old.

As Isaac got out of the infant stage, some of these sorts of things became much harder to do. The surprises I was able to pull off were much smaller. A cake she didn't know was coming. Taking the day off to spend with her while she was on maternity leave. Leaving work early so I could pick her and her bike up from work on a cold and rainy day.

The last good surprise thing that I recall doing was during the summer of 2017. It had the real potential to eventually join the Big Three due to the number of times Hillary brought it up in her last year.

It was a nice day. I booked my parents to pick up the kids and take them down to White Rock for the evening. I don't recall what my plan was other than I knew we hadn't had a bike ride together in a long time. We messaged back and forth a bit and I sussed out when I was pretty sure she'd be leaving work.

I got on my bike and rode over to her office. Sure enough, at about the halfway point, I got the message from her that she was packing up and getting changed and would be home in about 45 minutes. It looked like I had timed it right, it generally took her fifteen minutes to pack and change into riding gear and I was a hair under fifteen minutes of riding to get there.

So I get there. I roll up to where her bike is, lean up against the wall and wait. Ten minutes later I'm beginning to wonder. So I send a casual message saying something like, "You're probably riding right now. Hope it's going well."


Ten more minutes.

I was beginning to get a bit concerned. Hillary lived on the bounce and by the numbers. This was a 20 minute overshoot on going down an elevator. I called both her work and cell phone. Nothing.

Finally, about forty minutes after I got there she wandered out.

"Oh, hi, wait. Oh! Hi! You're here! You have your helmet on? We're riding home together? Fun!"

We rode slowly home together. We had dinner, though I don't remember if we went out or I made something or we got take out. Any of those are possible and I could probably research our messages to figure it out. It doesn't matter.

I think we watched a movie. We made love.

I mostly remember Hillary's surprise at me being there. It was just joy, there wasn't anything under the surface. It was a fun surprise and that evening was going to be good no matter how the rest of it played out.

I am crap at giving gifts, but I was always decent at small surprises that made Hillary happy.