Sometimes, I am a great life partner. Sometimes, I am a brat. This weekend, I intend to be both, because it’s my best friend’s birthday. 

The Carpenter will turn 55 on the fifth of August. To me this is an important number sequence. For the birthday boy, it’s just another reminder he isn’t 22, which was a much kinder number sequence to his body. Yeah, 55 isn’t quite so gentle.

As a devoted wife, I want to celebrate the Carpenter with all the enthusiasm I feel in my heart for this man who has walked by my side through everything life has thrown at us for almost three decades now. 

He is the one person I could count on no matter what, because we’ve always been a team. 

Also, I love birthdays. I think they are important milestone events. The Carpenter doesn’t share this perspective. He thinks it’s childish to want the fuss of a birthday celebration when you become an adult. He is wrong. And who is he calling an “adult?” Jerk.

Case in point: my July birthday was a rushed event that lacked planning and polish. It felt like an obligation, not a celebration.

Ask the Carpenter which side of my personality comes out when he tries to blow my birthday off like the candles on the cake that he didn’t buy me, because he didn’t think it was important to have dessert. What kind of a killjoy forgets the birthday cake? He does. 

Let the record show he also didn’t bother to wrap the gifts until two minutes before he handed them over (sidebar: rolling a book in tissue paper and stuffing it in the store bag from whence it came is poor form). He did get points for buying the right book, but I know my daughter told him which one I wanted. Still, it’s the thought that counts. Right? Uh-huh. Right.

My birthday was fine. Yes, you read that with the tone intended. The evening had some quaint moments. I’m grateful. I know my family had good intentions. It’s just life’s priorities always come before these moments, and I wish we, as a team, would re-evaluate those priorities. Life without celebration is just routine. That’s not living.

Well, you know what they say about payback, right? Yep. Uh-huh. The brat in me wants to return the lack of birthday enthusiasm. I’m thinking bologna sandwiches on white bread and a side of plain potato chips. That’s it. No dip. Take that, birthday boy. 

Ah, but I cannot do that. You know that. I know that. He knows that too. Ugh, I am so predictable. 

Besides, he would love it. The Carpenter would be perfectly satisfied with this menu paired with a cold beer, enjoyed in the garden with our grown kids, exchanging light-hearted insults and laughs. That’s enough for him. It’s what I love about him, truly. He is so satisfied with his place in the world, he needs nothing more than what he has, and he knows it. 

Yet, I need to celebrate him because. I cannot imagine the trajectory of my life without him in it. I’m grateful every day that this man exists. 

I know: hot dogs wrapped in tissue paper (with chips, of course, because I’m no amateur party planner). He’ll love that too. 

Happy birthday, my Carpenter.

WriteOut of Her Mind