"Well, at least you're not bitter," I murmured, taking many mental notes: No Christmas paper. No birthday-slash-Christmas gifts. LOTS OF FUSSING. My husband, I determined, would someday be able to look back on the eighty-seven happy years of our marriage and recall that there hadn't been a sucky birthday in that entire time.
I've been called upon, over the past eighteen years, to pull off some pretty spectacular feats. Like the year I flew him to Las Vegas so that he could sing with Frank Sinatra at the Desert Inn. Or that birthday I contacted my school friend Wibur Wright, who invited us down to North Carolina eleven days before my husband's birthday and where we ended up witnessing what turned out to be the first powered, controlled and sustained flight. It was freaking amazing.
No. I didn't really do any of that.
What I did do the year he turned thirty-three was write thirty-three bits of trivia about his life -- what his middle name is, the city and state of his birth, his favorite football team -- and type, print. cut and tape all of them to the backs of thirty-three Twix bars. I then took them into his work and everyone had a great time teasing him about the fact that his middle name is Seymour.
It really isn't. I just call him that when he's being a pain.
This year, I was more subtle. It's his forty-third birthday and he made the mistake of telling me that he hoped no one at work would remember that today is His Special Day. That started the wheels turning; turning back to the day when he lamented that no one ever makes a fuss over any Christmas baby except for the one you'd expect everyone to be making a fuss over. Non-sucky birthdays is my motto and my reason for living, I said to myself this morning. Operation Cupcake is now underway.
So you see the cupcakes up there in that photo?* I baked those cupcakes with my own hands, and frosted them. Aisling sprinkled them with those cheerful little birthday-colored nonpareils (not a Christmasy-looking one in the entire mix) and we packed them in a bakery box and took them out to his place of employment after we picked Meelyn up from work.
The girls refused to march into the dealership singing the Happy Birthday song, which I thought was very mean of them, but my husband assured me that such a thing would have made him run for the men's room. As if he didn't think I was capable of following him in there and belting out that final "......to youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!" Huh.
Anyway. Tacos for dinner tonight, his choice. Soft shells, extra-spicy meat, lots of cheese and lettuce. Homemade salsa too, to go with the tortilla chips I bought. All because he is the most adorable Christmas baby I have ever seen.
* I am really proud of that photo. I mean, really proud.