Thirty-three years ago today, through a complex series of small miracles, Paul landed in the world. And today, in commemoration of that blessed event, we ate hamburgers as big as our heads and took a monster nap right in the middle of the afternoon.
Actually, since today was Sunday and already filled up with church and Bible study and all good things, we did the bulk of our merrymaking yesterday, in celebration of both Paul’s birthday and his safe return from a week of teaching at church camp.
Can I just tell you how much I missed my husband last week? A whole long week of no warm body next to me in a bed as big and as empty as the Sahara. A week of watching movies alone and turning around to share my pithy observations with someone who wasn’t there. A week of killing my own spiders, doing the Icky Spider Dance of Girliness to a non-existent audience. A week of missing the love of my life keenly, and realizing (even more than usual) how blessed I am to have someone so wonderful to miss.
Halfway through the week, I sat down with the birthday wish list I had pried out of Paul’s brain before he left and tried to decide what to get him as a gift. Usually, I ask Paul for a bunch of ideas, settle on one, and buy it. He likes it, he thanks me, and everyone is happy. But this year, for some reason, it just didn’t feel like enough. Scanning the list, I considered the possibilities: disc golf equipment, computer software, gift certificates. Any of them would be met with sweet gratitude by my easy-to-please husband. But none of them seemed right.
Let me tell you about my birthdays. Every year, I make a wish list. Paul takes it, reads it over carefully, and throws it away. Then he searches my heart and mind to discover the one gift that I want more than anything but would never dare to ask for because it’s too expensive, too impractical, too extravagant to even be committed to paper. And he buys it. Like my laptop. Like my digital SLR. Like my scrapbooking desk.
For once, I wanted to be a scandalous gift giver. I wanted to make Paul feel like I feel when I tear open the wrapping and my unspoken dream thingy is sitting there. I wanted him to know that he is loved beyond all reason, beyond mere practicality.
So I searched his heart and replayed our recent conversations in my head until I came up with it. The thing he would never ask for, but I knew he really wanted: a Nintendo Wii. Giggling with glee, wild with anticipation, I picked up the phone and started calling around town to locate the gaming system. Target, Walmart, Game Stop, Circuit City–all were out of stock! I was starting to feel a little desperate. It was Saturday morning and I was nearly resigned to having to order one online when my last call, to Best Buy, hit pay dirt! They had just received three that morning, but they expected to be sold out within the hour. I loaded up the kids and burned rubber and before I knew it I was finally holding the prize in my hot little hand. Having completely abandoned myself to the spirit of wild giving, I didn’t stop there. After a brief consultation via phone with Paul’s brother, who also has a Wii, I threw extra controllers, a recharger, and several games he recommended into the cart as well, and before long we were driving home with the precious treasure safely in our possession.
I can’t remember when I’ve been more excited to give someone a gift. And I don’t know which was better: his amazed reaction, or simply having him back — to kill spiders, to be the big spoon, and to make the joy of living twice as sweet in the sharing of it.
Happy Birthday, love.
May you always bii as happii as you have made mii. (Hii hii!)