Today is my birthday. It’s also Friday the 13th. Which set me up with a terrific segway into my unfortunate track record with birthdays. Like the time in middle school that my mom took me and my friends to a mall for my birthday, and somehow I got separated from my friends and ended up wandering around alone because there was a time before cellphones. Or the time I fell in a mud puddle waiting for the bus and had to suffer through the entire school day with mud-splattered clothes. What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger, right? Or how about the year that my Grandpap passed away the day before, and my whole family was thrown into grief and mourning. Even then, my sweet Grandmother, the most wonderful person I know, had the presence of mind to remember my birthday and feel sorry for ME and give ME an extra-special squeeze at his viewing because my birthday would be forever linked to the most devastating thing that has happened to my family thus far. (I am often in awe of this woman’s compassion.) And on the heels of that tragic year was my 21st birthday in which my boyfriend at the time was in his car driving 500 miles to Nashville TN to follow his dreams. More recently there was the year we had a freaking mini-blizzard in Nashville and no one could come to my birthday dinner. Really, Nashville?
In case you didn’t pick up on it, I’m a bit of a cynic when it comes to my birthday. And I was gearing up for an unlucky year again: my kids and I have been sick for a week, and I’m exhausted; my living Grandfather suffered a stroke on Wednesday…I was holding my breath. But as I started mentally writing my sardonic blog post this week, I couldn’t help remember this one birthday, the birthday to redeem all birthdays. And that’s what, I decided, my post should be about.
It was 2008 and I had been in love with someone for 5 years, and single for three, and I hardly dated since. But I had met someone, and we had been hanging out regularly since Thanksgiving night. We had stayed up until 2 am just talking, not touching. And this went on non-stop for 2 weeks. Of course, when a boy is showing up at your work every single night to hangout with you, people start to notice. My boss had some concerns that maybe this boy wasn’t over his ex and my friends were afraid I was leading him on, girls can’t just be friends with boys you know…and that’s when it hit me. I didn’t want to just be friends. I didn’t want to lose him. I wanted him to be around every day for the rest of my life.
So when he asked me if he could take me to dinner for my birthday, there was a pregnant pause, as my mind processed my options. I inhaled and decided to take the plunge.
He showed up in a tie, very dapper. And on our way to the very nice French restaurant, we held hands in the crisp December air and took the walking bridge over the river. We strolled to the very middle not far from a couple dressed in white gown and black tux. Ironic, right? I knew that night that I would marry this man. Underneath a cynic, you can always find a wounded romantic. Every thing about that night was perfect: the weather, the food, the atmosphere, the wine, the company. It was magical. But it was there under the stars, that my luck changed with a kiss.
Thank you to my husband – for the best birthday I have ever, ever had in 30 years. And for being the birthday gift that keeps on giving. I love you!