The Year My Husband Forgot My Birthday
Okay, it's not that he exactly forgot my birthday. He didn't forget to get me a gift or just totally space it on my actual birthday or anything. In fact, on my birthday morning my husband had my son run into our room yelling, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY WHIT!" (Does it crack anyone else up when their kid calls them by their first name?)
And to his credit, my husband bought my birthday present way before my birthday and actually was so excited he couldn't help but give it to me almost a month early. He got me an Eames hang-it-all and It's probably the best gift he's ever given me.
But he did forget about my birthday when he was signing up to take the very last exam for a professional credential he's been working on for 5 years. He accidentally signed up to take it on (you guessed it) my birthday.
My husband has been taking these Actuarial exams, working full time, and being a dad for so long that getting this credential and having no more exams has seemed to our family to be the impossible dream. The tests are crazy crazy hard and require, no joke, hundreds of hours of studying before they are passable. The weight of studying sometimes feels pretty enormous, and I'm not even the one who has to crack any books.
So when we realized that he scheduled his last test on my birthday and that there were no other open slots he could change it too, we both realized that my birthday was going to be either really awesome or really...not.
Have you ever read that book "Happy Birthday to You" by Dr. Suess? I mentioned on my Instagram a few months ago that it is my favorite Dr. Suess book. When I was a kid I was so mesmerized by the pictures, specifically the one of the mustard-off pools. Obviously my dream isn't to eat frankfurters for lunch and then go pick out a giant pet on my birthday, but everything about that book is how I want birthdays in my family to feel. The excitement! The doting on the birthday kid! The celebration! No mention of failed tests, of 400 more hours of studying, of the weight carried on shoulders and in hearts.
I did some damage control. I made my dessert the day before. I got a babysitter during the exam hours so I could go to the mall with one of my very best friends. Can I tell you how freeing it was to walk around Anthropologie without crashing into clothes displays with my stroller? Guys, it was really awesome. It kind of made me like shopping again. Plus I got these jeans which have been on my wish list for, no exaggeration, two years. And in case shopping, dessert, and a babysitter didn't do it, we also planned to go to my favorite pizza restaurant, so if nothing else my taste buds would be happy. And we wouldn't have to wash any dishes.
But it turns out damage control was totally unnecessary because my husband passed that test with flying colors.
Maybe it's too late to be writing or something, but I'm still getting a little emotional thinking about this. When I think about how hard my husband has worked for our little family, all the sacrifices he's made, the soccer games he hasn't watched, the hours he's gotten up early while letting me sleep. It's one of those things where you feel like someone has given you a gift that required more than money. It required life.
.How cliche would it be to say that I can't think of a better birthday gift?
I'm going for it. I can't think of a better birthday gift.
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