I just told Karen what her birthday present will be, and this is after many hints and outright sit down conversations saying that this is what she wants. I am going to Man-up and make all decisions about what we are doing and where we are going over the weekend AND be completely flexible and open to any changes in directions or the plan that she wants and make her completely right when and if she does that. She was very happy when I set the tone of our weekend together with that context. I then told her what I was planning for Saturday, the out in the world day, and Sunday, the stay at home day. Activities on both days seemed to fit into exactly what she desired for her birthday which pleased me as the Man to no end.
Over the years birthdays have had a great deal of importance for us and we have done many things to make them special. We started out our marriage with a birthday weekend proposal that was a three day treasure hunt extravaganza. From this wonderful and over the top experience we tried to top it in following years based on the philosophy given to me by a smiling elderly couple I met on a plane once who told me that the secret to an ecstatic 40 year marriage was surprise birthday weeks every year. So building on our engagement birthday weekend we attempted to outdo each other every year in the Surprise Birthday Weeks. As you can imagine this led to some things that weren’t so ecstatic, like anxiety about whether or not the other would like what we had planned and competition that looked for ways that we could outdo each other getting completely stressed in the process. Well it took a couple of years and we backed down and regrouped. We still wanted there to be a special weekend put aside every year where one would be honored and cared for deeply by the other in special ways. We wanted to both be involved in the plans for that weekend and we wanted to make sure that there was some room for both ease and surprise. Well that went a long way to clear out the stress and anxiety that we had begun to create around birthday celebrations.
Then we added two additional celebrations into our life. We created a celebration for our anniversary of our marriage, which we both managed to drop off our radar for the first 10 years of our marriage. Well that is now an annual occasion that gets treated with the same special care and attention that birthdays get. We also have created traditional celebrations of New Years and Thanksgiving that occur every year that allow us to spread out our celebrations every couple of months so we are usually always either preparing for a celebration or basking in the celebration that just finished. This has us living our lives aware of some sort of celebration pretty much all of the time. This is, I think, a good thing.
So I raise a glass to my beloved Karen and to any and all celebrations that you may have coming up or just past.