on my own terms. In all my 39 years, this was maybe the first time I ever felt that way... and while I don't usually make a practice of dwelling in the ugly, the hurt and the sadness was just a little too much for this heart. This heart that love, love, loves my December birthday, and has most always embraced it. I wanted to embrace it this year, too... so I narrowed my expectations (which were small to start with... a few hours of family, mixed with cake and ice cream) and created strict terms that I expected him to follow... to the letter. Only this one night, just us four, cookie dough flautas, no cake... and no singing or celebrating it any other time. It sounds ridiculous now... but it was my coping mechanism, the only way I could push aside the sad and lonely feelings over what he wouldn't give up for my day. How old am I? Three? I deserved that kick-in-the-pants cards from my Mom... and I knew it, but still couldn't reign my heart in.
The day after my birthday, we had plans with friends... easy dinner, just to visit and relax before the Christmas crazy set fully in. When we had originally made the plans I told Eric, but it won't be a birthday celebration, okay? and he just shook his head, fully sick of my birthday attitude. But this night was at least a week after that conversation, and I had just celebrated a wonderful birthday, had tucked all that junk away into my muddy heart...
It was too dark to tell who was in the driveway, probably just someone stopping by their house to drop of a quick gift or something... but as we pulled in I noticed there was more than an extra car. And there were quite a few people standing around. And they were waving. I put my hand up to wave and the realization hit me all at once. My family. All of them. A surprise for me, the very loud birthday whiner. I was more than shocked, more than pleased, more than humbled. He was worried that I wouldn't even get out of the car.
No worries... he is the very best husband a girl could be lucky enough to call her own. And he loves me completely, even when I make his life miserable, even in spite of me. And still, after the celebration, I can't quite get over how selfish and awful I have been... but he offered me grace anyway, and I joyfully splashed in it. I have closed the door on this birthday... and next year, when my beautiful birthday comes around, I will accept it just as it is... because I believe I have learned my lesson.