Monday, October 04, 2010

My birthday...

It's official. I am 38 years old. Today, I am 728 days away from turning forty....not that I am keeping track or anything. I had a wonderful birthday on Saturday. Typically, Ruanita does not do well at birthdays. I am only saying this because she will most certainly wholeheartedly agree. She does not excel at gift-giving, abhors shopping, and avoids "parties" like the plague. Don't get me wrong. Ruanita loves and appreciates me. However, her way of showing how much she loves me is by doing my laundry and taking out my trash and washing my dishes. She doesn't feel the need to buy flowers and presents. Can't I tell how much she loves and appreciates me by the way she works her ass off to give me a nice home?! That is her way of expressing love. I should know that by now. I DO know that by now. I just tend to overlook it at times.

Several weeks ago, I casually mentioned that I thought it would be fun to have a little barbecue on my birthday. Ruanita, as is her usual reaction to any "social" event, groaned and I could practically hear her eyes rolling. In her defense, this is always her initial reaction. Eventually, after much discussion, she will concede, get on board, and usually have a rip-roaring time. This time, however, I dropped the topic altogether. That is, I dropped it until I decided to totally blind-sided her one day out of the blue by announcing that her reaction had made me feel unappreciated. Actually, I didn't consciously "decide" to blind-side her. It just happened one day. Try as I might to suck the words back in mid-sentence, they were already out there. I think I even said some sort of condescending drivel about how I feel that birthdays are important and that I believe they should be celebrated. Ruanita, of course, was devastated that I thought she did not appreciate me or that I thought she did not want to celebrate my birthday. It ended up being a big hoopla about who does what for who and who appreciates who. In the end, it was ridiculous. After 13 years together, we both know in our heart of hearts that we are appreciated and loved. I think I was just feeling a bit old and fat and frumpy...unappreciated and unloved just kind of followed the course.

Ruanita and I eventually worked everything out and I did have a birthday barbecue on Saturday night. Ruanita went out of her way to make my birthday this year a fabulous one. I arrived home from work on Friday afternoon, the day before my birthday, to find a bouquet of flowers sitting on the kitchen Sophie's great delight. On Saturday morning, I awoke to not one, but four birthday presents, neatly wrapped. After unwrapping my presents and receiving birthday kisses all around (with the exception of Lucas, who could not tear himself from Saturday morning cartoons to watch me open my presents), we took the kids to my sister's house for the remainder of the morning. While the kids ate donuts and played at my sister's house, Ruanita took me out to breakfast, went to Patina to shop for Bunco prizes with me (we are having a Bunco party this weekend), and then took me to Kohl's. Keep in mind that this is a woman whose pure, unadulterated hatred for shopping is only equaled by my love for it. She had said earlier in the week that I needed some new clothes. I think she had become increasingly perturbed with my 5:30am rantings and ravings about how I have nothing to wear to work. I have a closet full of very nice clothes that no longer fit me. I assumed her declaration about my need for new clothes was an abstract expression...a random fleeting thought with no real desire to spend the money on backing it up. So I was more than flabbergasted when she took me to Kohl's to shop. She smiled throughout the entire experience, remained pleasant, and dutifully held my jacket in the changing room while I tried on outfit after outfit. She even offered completely unsolicited, but extremely helpful, advice on what looked the most flattering on me. In short, she was a perfectly doting partner.

That evening, we had friends and family over for a barbecue. Several people who were supposed to come had things come up and were unable to make it. In the end, it was us, my mom, my sister, and five of our friends. It was the perfect number of people for sitting around the firepit and chit-chatting. Ruanita actually....gasp....cooked for us! She manned the grill (my usual domain), and did so quite fabulously. She even let the dishes lay where they landed, rather than constantly cleaning throughout the night as she typically does. She just sat and enjoyed the barbecue...the greatest gift she could have given me.

I feel a bit guilty. I think I put her into a position where she felt like she HAD to go over the top for my birthday. I would have been happy with a simple barbecue. One present would have sufficed. Breakfast was unnecessary, though quite delicious. And shopping for new clothes was an unexpected perk. I admit though...I thoroughly enjoyed being queen for the day.

Saturday night, after all of our guests had left, Ruanita looked at me over a pile of food and beer bottles and dirty dishes and asked, "Is your birthday over now?"
"Yes," I responded. "It is over. "
"Good," she said. "Then get your ass in gear and help me clean up this mess."

Ahhh....back to normal. Sweet, sweet normalcy.


Jennifer said...

Happy Birthday.

hwibbs said...

Ruanita did good! Tell her she's off the hook until you turn 40! You definitely owe her for making this one so good. You'll have to make her next one particularly fun. :)

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