May 9, 2006
The Plan

The plan was simple.

I would get up early this morning -- no need to set an alarm, of course: my internal clock is a thing of precision and beauty  -- and sneak out to the kitchen, long before he woke up. There I would quietly prepare him a nice breakfast: scrambled eggs with cheese and green onions, maybe ...  a slice of toast using some of that nice apple-cinnamon bread I got at the Farmers Market  ... a cup of Pete's, laced with a liberal dollop of "Girl Juice" (his vaguely derisive term for flavored coffee creamer). When the food was ready, I would wake him with a tender kiss and a whispered 'Happy Birthday' in his ear, then serve him breakfast in bed.  After he finished eating, he would open his gifts: a tie, a funny T-shirt, the Holly & The Italians CD he's been trying to find, a pair of engraved cufflinks he will never ever wear in a bazillion years. We would snuggle for a few minutes  ... maybe get in a quick round of *Yahtzee,* if there was time (hi Jaymi)  ...  then each head off in our separate directions, he to the newspaper office, me to The Job,  until we meet up at the end of the day for a romantic birthday dinner at our favorite Italian place over on Park Street.  My treat, of course.

That was the plan, anyway. The reality was more like this: David standing at the end of the bed at 6:21 a.m., fully showered, dressed and caffeinated already, shaking me by the foot to wake me up.  

"You overslept," he said. 

Every year I swear that I'm going to recognize David's birthday in a significant way. (More "significant" than an Amazon Gift Certificate and a graphic on the *FootNotes* splash page, anyway.) Yet every year, his is the birthday that somehow gets minimized or overlooked. The fact that he doesn't give two Fig Newtons about birthdays in general  --  and about his birthday in particular  --  doesn't matter.  *I* need to acknowledge this day. I can't help it: I'm a big 'birthday celebration' kinda gal. It's important to me to shower the people I love with hearts and safety pins and seven different versions of The Birthday Song on their special day.

Whether they like it or not.

I emerge from my shower, a few minutes later, and wander out to the kitchen. David is leaving for the office already --  important early-morning meeting with someoranother newspaper bigwig  --  so there will be no time for anything but the quickest hug, the briefest kiss, the most abbreviated birthday greeting. I don't even have a *real* birthday present for him to open yet. (Busy at work last week/under the weather all weekend/no time to shop yet.)

"I'm sorry," I say, as I wrap my arms around him. "I was planning to do something nice for you this morning." This IS The Big Five-Oh, after all. If any birthday deserves a little hoopla, it's this one.  

He kisses the top of my head. "You do something nice for me every single day," he says. "You fill my life with joy."  

And with that, he tucks his cell phone into his pocket, grabs his jacket and heads out the door to work.

I'm ordering him the Amazon Gift Certificate, even as we speak.

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well  ... at least we know he's reading *footnotes.*