I have long since stopped with putting the sort of emphasis on my birthday as I did when I was younger. The attention it draws as I’m waiting to blow out the candles on my cake is something I would rather skip. Not because I’m afraid of getting older (quite the opposite, every year is one year closer to me retiring) but I am much happier spending the day with my wife and kids, blowing out candles on a small cake my kids helped to make, and opening whatever homemade gifts and cards they made me. Quietly.
I get much more joy celebrating other people’s birthdays. It gives me an incredible thrill to watch my kids blow out the candles on their cake and tear in to their gifts like wild raccoons digging through a garbage can. I love waking my wife up on her birthday to breakfast in bed, one of Hallmark’s finest cards, and treating her to an ‘Alicia’ day (which would include keeping the kids under lock and key).
While my wife doesn’t need a stack of presents or an 8 tiered cake to celebrate her birthday, she does enjoy the celebration of her birth. In fact, she enjoys it a lot. Sometimes, she has gotten a little carried away with when the celebration should begin. Every year it seems like her birthday gets to be more and more like Christmas as the recognition of the day starts further and further from the actual day (Christmas starts somewhere around Halloween now right?). While the early calls for her birthday are all in good fun, my wife is not shy about pointing out her impending birthday, sometimes weeks in advance.
Thursday, November 1st. Sometime after the kids went to bed.
“You know it’s my birthday soon.” I wasn’t sure if my wife was making a statement or asking me a question?
“By soon do you mean 3 weeks?” I am hoping our children didn’t ask their mother for help when they were doing time in Math class.
“That’s soon!” There are moments during conversations in a marriage when one spouse can end an impending argument by simply agreeing with the other spouse.
“I guess compared to Christmas in 2016 it’s soon.” I ignored that moment.
“That’s just mean. I think we should be celebrating my birthday as a month instead of a day.” This is the kind of declaration that could kick start a revolution in a third world country.
“A month? Since when does your birthday last as long as Lent? I was planning on a few hours the Sunday before your actual birth day.” If you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of throwing gasoline on fire.
“You don’t have to be a jerk about it. I was just kidding. God, just forget it.” Time to get the fire extinguishers out.
“I was kidding sweetheart. Come on, what do you want to do for your birthday?”
“Nothing.” Next to ‘I don’t care’ and ‘Do I look fat in this dress’; ‘nothing’ may be the most booby trapped answer in the history of marriage.
“When you say nothing, do you mean nothing or do you mean ‘nothing I’m going to tell you, you had just better figure it out from the clues I’ve dropped about what I want since April’?” I’ve reached a stage in my marriage where I feel comfortable asking these sorts of questions without having to duck a flying frying pan.
“I don’t want anything or have to do anything! I mean there are some things I would like but I don’t need anything.” I noticed she made sure to be the emphasis on ‘like’ and ‘need’.
“So what would you like?” I’m a man of action; I figure its best to get to the point.
“Nothing.” She wants to see if I’ll call her bluff.
“Ok. Nothing it is.” I called her bluff and I raised her.
“How about a card and dinner? You think you could swing that Romeo?” It’s been said; the truth shall set you free.
“Now that I can do Juliet.” It would take some logistical work with the kids but I could pull it off.
“Since you’re asking, I want to add one more thing and I want to add it for this weekend.” I am tempted to let her know I hold a veto power on any amendments to this list but I’m intrigued at what it could be.
“This weekend? Now you’re talking. Are we sending the kids to sleepover somewhere so we can…ya know…” To really drive this home, I’m rubbing my hands together and rapidly raising my eyebrows up and down.
“No you idiot. I was thinking you would let me sleep in on Sunday?” Veto! Veto!
“Really? Didn’t you just say you didn’t want anything for your birthday?” I’m back pedaling. Shamelessly.
“Nice. You know how hard I work during the week? The leastyoucoulddoisletmesleepinsinceIamtheonewhowakesupwithHannahatsixam…” When the speed of my wife’s words increases to the point of seeming like a 3 minute diatribe is one word, I know I could be in trouble.
“Ok. You sleep in this Sunday but I’m considering this one of your presents.” This might be a better present than the homemade coupon for one free hug I gave thought to giving to her.
“I changed my mind. I want 3 more presents. You can give them to me every Sunday this month.” One of the things I love most about my wife is she is a total smartass.
“I changed my mind too. I’m going back to getting you nothing.”
My wife didn’t say anything; she merely gave me a look that Superman uses right before he unleashes his heat vision.
“Can I change my mind again?” Some jokes are funnier in your head than when they are actually spoken.
“You had better.”
“What I was going to say, what I wanted you to know; because there is no one I love with the passion I love you with and because of who you are, the sacrifices you make, your love, your emotion, for what you give to me, the kids, and our entire family, it makes no difference whether or not it is your birthday, I celebrate your life every day. Because every day we’re together, you make my life so much better. Oh, and you can sleep in this Sunday. Happy Birthday Sweetheart.”