Today is my birthday.
Normally a happy occasion for most and I have received dozens of well wishes and birthday blessings from friends and family all over, which I greatly love and am truly thankful for.
But there is one glaring absence that I can’t seem to push past.
It also doesn’t help that even the weather is depressing with drizzle and cold.
You see, birthdays were my husband’s joy. He loved them. Whether it was his own or someone else’s. Until I met him, I never really celebrated mine. If wasn’t for Facebook or junk mail from various stores I shop at, I wouldn’t even know it was my birthday until I saw it posted. He would always laugh because when he woke up and wished me a happy birthday, I'd give him a blank look because I had forgotten.
Birthdays just weren’t a big thing in my family. In fact, we thought my sister was born on the wrong day for years because someone first got the date incorrect. It wasn’t until she needed a passport and we pulled her birth certificate out that we realized it.
But my husband loved them. He threw my first birthday party for me. For my 50th he sent all the way to LA to get a Duffy birthday cake for me. He would start the day off with a hug and a gleam in his eye, hand me a present that he had gotten months before and then create a wonderful dinner for me. He would fill the day with little treats and sing Happy Birthday whenever I saw him, which was quite constant since we both worked in the same office.
And that’s what I’m missing so terribly today. Not the presents or the treat, not the well-wishing, not the dinner. I’m missing his boyish grin, his smile, his enthusiasm, his delight, his corniness. I can’t seem to think about anything else.
Normally, I would go riding today as it is a training day and we are in the middle of the show season. I would get birthday hugs and wishes from my ranch family and my husband would be teased about spoiling me today. He would just grin and tell everyone how old I was and that he should probably trade me in for a newer model.
But I just can’t make myself do that.
Not that I don’t love my ranch family and I know that they would do anything to make me feel better, but today is one of those days where I just don’t think I can push through. I don’t think I can overcome the sadness and loneliness.
I can't be cheerful today. Because it’s not a celebration for me. Sure, I’m another year older, but right now it is not a happy event. It is making me focus on, not only this birthday, but the birthdays to come. The birthdays that will never again contain my husband.
I will never again hear him tease me about how much older I am and how he married an old woman, about how I robbed the cradle (he’s four years younger than me). I will never again hear him go on and on about AARP and social security and walkers and counting my grey hair.
I will never again get that one special hug where he holds me tight and whispers in my ear, “Happy Birthday, My Angel. I love you.”
I will never again feel that wonderful contentment of growing older with the only person I want to grow old with.
And that is why today is not a special day for me.
Maybe next year or the year after.
But not today.
If I could have one birthday wish come true, I would be selfish. I wouldn’t wish for world peace or the end of poverty. I wouldn’t wish for the end of hunger or war. I wouldn’t wish for people to get well and the economy to improve for all.
No, I would wish for one thing and one thing only.
I would wish to look up and see my husband’s face, filled with love and joy and excitement and know that it was all for me, because it is my birthday. My special day.
But not today.