"... joy and sorrow are inseparable. . . together they come and when one sits alone with you . . . remember that the other is asleep upon your bed."
- Kahlil Gibran
It's my birfday.
Well, it was 4 days ago anyway.
Mom and Dad came to visit. They brought Luke and Amy. That was the best. We went to Bob & Judy's for lunch and RED VELVET cake and ice cream and stupendous presents. I got flowers from Will and Stacy and lots of cards and e-cards and even a phone call from Uncle Rufus. It was a great day.
We came home, and the neighborhood girls (Kate & Amy, too) decorated my entire house. They created "David's Restaurant" in my living room with a jungle theme. Kate told us to get ready for dinner. I told her that Deb and I had plans to go out. Tears welled up in her eyes. Okay, change of plans. Call Deb. Tell her there's a new joint in town we absolutely must check out. She agrees, so mom and I were dispensed to the store to buy pineapple, whipped cream and mystery meat. We bought a coconut, too.
We waited in the hallway to be seated and read Tiger Beat magazine. We were escorted past palm trees and banana centerpieces. Dave's voice sang to us. Candles blazed on every table. We ordered from carefully lettered menus. Our courses came, one after the other, brought by earnest little waitresses and prepared with much noise and commotion behind the curtain.
We were treated to a monkey puppet show and a birthday song and dance. After giant tips, Deb, Mom and I cleaned up the kitchen...no easy feat, I assure you, and served our little chefs ice cream sundaes in tall, tall wine glasses. (Koda later broke them trying to get at the ice cream, but oh well.)
Then Deb, Mom and I went to the brew pub and visited for a while.
All in all, 44 isn't so bad. And it was a little fun to make a big deal about my birthday again. It comes only two days after Dave's death anniversary, and the last two, I've wanted to just ignore. Dave always made a HUGE deal out of my birthday. I was queen for a day. Flowers, candy, breakfast in bed, dinner out and jewelry in a little wrapped box.
Now unless you think he was simply an exceptional husband, there was more to the story. The first year that Dave and I were married, I had to work on my birthday. I get home...empty house. No cell phones in the 80's, so I waited around. Anticipating his arrival for an hour or so. Feeling sad and lonely for the next hour or so. Then rapidly moving from irritated to royally pissed to maybe a bit worried. I called around and found him at the West End Tavern. With Doug. They are having my birthday party without me, it seems. They'd gone shopping for my present and stopped at the West End for a $2 pitcher. I think they had more than $2 left over after my present was purchased.
So they stumble home. And lock themselves in the back room. Laughing. Running out for a hammer. Lots of pounding. Some cussing. And lots of arm-crossing and foot-tapping by yours truly.
Eventually they come out. They have my present balanced between them. They've built me a....drum roll please....MICROWAVE CART! "HAPPY BIRFDAY!" they shout.
Hmmmm....okay, it wasn't a power drill or a vaccuum cleaner, but a microwave cart??? Not exactly what a new bride is dreaming of. When my reaction is less than gracious, they were bewildered. Bewildered, I tell you. They had NO idea that this was not gloriously fun for me. They were so cute. I had to forgive them. Although I never let either of them forget it.
The next year, Doug bought me flowers and baked me a cake (from scratch...two round layers! I have a picture someplace...I'll have to find it) and Dave took me out to dinner on Commencement Bay and gave me an amethyst ring in a truffle box. Happy Birfday to me!
Happy birfday to me.
Oh, here's a pic of Koda...her ears came up...one at a time!
"She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts."
- George Eliot
"When we are no longer able to change a situation …
we are challenged to change ourselves."