It wasn't just any old birthday, it was a Big One. You know, one of those birthdays that end in a zero and cause friends and family to act as if that particular day is significantly different than the one that just passed but ended in a nine. Now, when I have a birthday, I want the world to know. I welcome banners and balloons and people jumping up and down in excitement. If it isn't too much of a bother, I'd really appreciate a parade in my honor. While I've had several balloons and the occasional banner, I've never seen a parade that's all about me but I'd enjoy one. I absolutely would.
Glynn would hate it. He doesn't like to celebrate his birthdays. He would prefer to quietly eat his cake (he still wants cake) and open his presents (he gets pout-y if he doesn't get presents) while pretending he really hasn't turned a year older. As if, somehow, gifts and a heavily-frosted pastry have just arrived at the house for no particular reason.
Since this was a Big One, he asked if we could skip town and be far away from the ringing phone and visiting relatives. So we headed south, where (1) I promised not to work on any of the things we simply must get done before the novel comes out and (2) I agreed to go horseback riding. The last time I rode a horse, I was seven and I climbed bareback on a horse that had never been ridden before...and wasn't that a surprise for both me and the horse? But Glynn was pretty clear about his birthday wishes and who doesn't want to give their sweetie their birthday wish?
So, I ignored my email, I turned off my cell phone, and I didn't do my writing chores. And I discovered something: horseback riding is much, MUCH more fun when the day doesn't suddenly turn blisteringly hot and the poor horse just doesn't much want to move. ("Oh, no, no," the horse wrangler lied, "all horses love the heat", which would have seemed somehow more convincing if the rest of the herd wasn't standing in the shadows, clearly relieved not to be out on the trail.) By the time we got back to the stables, Glynn and I just wanted to escape to our air-conditioned hotel.
While he enjoyed his slice of cake, I soaked my sore and tired tush in the tub -- another tip here, bring pillows if you haven't been on a horse in a few decades -- and, later, we snuggled together on a king-sized bed and watched a pay-per-view horror movie together. "It was the perfect birthday," he told me later.
Which is what I'll remind him, a few months from now when my birthday celebration rolls around. It's probably best if he programs 1-800-PARADES into his cell phone now, it'll save so much time later....