I don’t usually blog about my birthdays because I’m kind of shy about telling other people when my birthday is. I’m not a birthday-hater; on the contrary I love having a birthday. I just don’t expect anything for my birthday. No, not in that selfless, cool, have-it-all-already way; more in Jewish mother kind of way.
I think it started going this way the first year I celebrated my birthday with Kevin. He asked what I wanted for a gift; I asked him to cook dinner for me. He said, “No problem!” and told me to show up at six on my birthday. I showed up at six, and his apartment did not smell like dinner. There were no dirty pots or dishes, no table set. In fact, there were no signs of food anywhere. And I was hungry. I looked at him questioningly and he said, “Hop in the car. We’re going to the grocery store!”
I still kind of thought he had a plan until we got to the store and had this conversation:
K: So what do you want for dinner?
R: You mean you didn’t plan anything??
K: Of course I did! I planned for us to go to the store together, pick out some food, then go back and cook it.
R: So your idea of cooking me dinner on my birthday is to have me decide a menu, me shop for the food, then me go back and cook it?
I think I chose something really passive-aggressive, like Lunchables or something.
This is how birthdays go when an over-planner marries an under-planner. It’s not that Kevin doesn’t acknowledge my birthday; he is very sweet and thoughtful, but it’s very spur-of-the-minute. In his defense, and at the risk of being incredibly cheesy, I will say that being married to Kevin is like having a birthday every single day of the year. Except for a small percentage of his day (specifically, the percentage spent in the bathroom), nearly everything else Kevin does in his day is for me. I won’t go into details because you will not like me anymore, and I really want you to like me.
The only problem with every day feeling like a birthday is that birthdays don’t feel all that special anymore.
On my birthday this year Kevin treated me to my favorite latte and donuts for breakfast, then he headed to the basement to take down the bookshelves and skim coat for the rest of the morning. I was pretty sure the donut thing completed Kevin’s birthday check-off list for me, so I piled the kids into the car and had them secretly pick out a cake mix right in front of me, then pay for it and get it bagged without me seeing. They were sweet about it, even though I’m sure the people watching the surveillance cameras had their eyes on the kid who was hiding a cake mix in his oversized winter jacket.
I let the kids choose Lunchables for lunch, just for old time’s sake. Lunchables with drinks and dessert. It was my birthday after all.
Then I took the boys to the toy store, let them each fall in love with a toy, and then when they asked me if I would pleeeeeeease buy it pleeeeeeease, I said, “Sure! Anything else you want?”
And after we checked out with our arms full of new toys I told them, “Awww, you shouldn’t have. It’s too much, really!” The cashiers looked at me funny.
Back at home I put the cake mix in Kevin’s hands and said I was going to take a nap. I hoped he knew what to do.
He did. I woke up to the smell of freshly baked chocolate cake and a couple excited boys. We went out for dinner then came back to cake and everyone helped me blow out the candles. Leo just kept blowing on all our pieces of cake and laughing while we ate.
Perfect birthday? Maybe not. But there were definitely some perfect moments.