On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 27, 2018:

DavidSunday was David’s birthday, and he finally joined me in the 70s. Although I’ve been there since April and have tried to reassure him that it doesn’t hurt when the age-o-meter rolls over, he didn’t seem to look forward to this birthday the way he usually does. However, when I came home from Brookshire’s and waved a package of German’s Sweet Chocolate and another of coconut, he broke into a smile, knowing his birthday cake was on the way.

We don’t make a big deal of birthdays – at least not any more. The first year I celebrated his birthday with him, I took him out to dinner, and he gave me an engagement ring. It was hard to top that, but I sometimes tried to at least come close. One year I gave him an I-Pod, and another year I presented him with a bicycle, but we’ve reached the point in our lives where we have all the electronics we need and there’s no space to store larger toys. So most years I send him an e-card, and if I’m feeling extravagant, I give him a printed one, too. We go out for catfish or Mexican food, or sometimes I make a roast and a big pot of beans at home. And I usually make a German Chocolate Cake.

There have been a few years when I’ve bought his cake at the bakery, but I prefer the German chocolate cakehome made ones, even though they’re a lot of work. In addition to the usual preparations, you have to melt the chocolate, separate the eggs, beat the egg whites. It’s a stiff, heavy batter that the mixer and I both struggle with. It’s the one time in the year I wish I had a stand mixer. His enjoyment makes it worth the effort, though.

I made his cake on Friday this year and took it to Home Group. I noted on the food sign-up sheet that the cake was in honor of his birthday, so we sang “Happy Birthday” to him, and he got lots of attention. He’s normally a bit shy, but when it’s his turn, he does enjoy the spotlight. He also enjoyed the fact that there were several other desserts this week, so there was cake left over to take home.

I had thought we might do some shopping on Saturday and find something he wanted, but it was so rainy, windy, and cold that, after we bought Kitty food and filled the gas tank, we were both ready to go home. We spent the rest of the day watching old movies and dozing on the couch like old people.

cats singing happy birthdaySunday morning was cloudy, but it was warmer and there was no rain – a good day to continue celebrating with our church family. He announced his big day in Sunday School and basked in the attention that followed. Then, before church, one of the members of our Home Group said that the day called for an official celebration and proceeded to sing “Happy Birthday” in the middle of the foyer. I think David grinned all through church.

After services, I gave him his choice of lunch out or at home. He likes the Sunday special at Big Mouth Burger as well as the spicy beans, so that’s where we went. Back at the house, he continued to grin as he checked all his birthday wishes on Facebook, and then a nap overtook him. He was roused a while later when Roger, an old school friend and biker buddy, called to say happy birthday. They talked about their exciting afternoons – David’s nap and Roger’s time sitting on the patio watching the rain. They also talked about a friend who had really “ballooned out” after retirement and other mature subjects. Before you get the idea that the life and dreams of my older husband are totally dull and boring, let me backtrack to our lunch conversation.

“I didn’t put any candles on your cake on Friday,” I said, “so you didn’t get a chance to make a wish and blow them out. What would your birthday wish have been?”

David’s plan when he joined the Navy was to be a pilot, but his vision wasn’t good G650enough. Later, he took private flying lessons, but life and finances interfered, so that dream never became a reality. Recently he has been watching a lot of aviation videos on YouTube, so it shouldn’t have surprised me when he said, “A ride in a Gulfstream G650.”

According to Google, a G650 can be chartered for a little over $10,000 per hour. Of course, it can carry eight passengers, so maybe he could take along several friends that could kick in a little gas money – or maybe not. We both smiled at his big dream and moved on to my next question. “Where do you want to be on your next birthday?”

He looked a little confused and said he didn’t even know what he wanted for dinner yet. “No, I don’t mean what restaurant. I mean a destination – like where would you like to go?”

His eyes got that far away look that means his mind is driving or flying or sailing somewhere else. “Maybe the Caribbean,” he replied. “Somewhere warm while it’s cold here.”

Now that’s a dream that sounds doable, even for a couple of septuagenarians.




Free on KU!

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