It’s Jamie’s birthday! My sweet husband loves his birthday. He loves it so much, in fact, that every time he looks at the clock and sees that it is 11:14 (am or pm), he announces, “Hey look! It’s my birthday!”
When I met him, I thought this was one of his adorable quirks. But over the years of our marriage I’ve learned how important it is. While he says it in a funny, sweet little way, it’s actually quite a profound thing. Every birthday marks a whole year you’ve alive. He hasn’t let me ignore a single birthday since we started dating. He has gone to great lengths to make sure that I stop pouting and start enjoying.
So, in honor of this most specialest-person’s birthday, I’d like to tell you some of the most important lessons I’ve learned from him over the years. Just like him, these lessons are so cute and quirky that you might not even realize how profound they truly are at first glance.
If you call it a party, it’s a party.
As I said, Jamie loves his birthday and he loves a birthday party. For the first few years of our relationship I was amazed at how many parties he seemed to create for himself each year. There would be the big party with friends, the quiet family dinner party, the office party, and the small party with the friends who missed the big party.
And not only did he plan all these celebrations for himself, he also called every slightly celebratory event a “party.” When a friend took him out to coffee, a colleague brought in donuts, or we treated ourselves to ice cream one evening – all of these events were called “birthday parties” and he relished them.
At first, I thought these events were just his silly way of over-glorifying his own birthday. But over the years, I’ve come to see that when you call something a party, then it is a party. Sure it’s just a simple coffee date or some ice cream, but when you call it a party, suddenly it’s a celebration, a reminder about how important your own life is, especially being with others. I’ve had a lot more “parties” in recent years.
It’s always worth it to tell a joke.
Jamie never misses an opportunity to tell a joke. Never. I’ll be honest and tell you that it’s caused some trouble over the years. I cannot count the number of arguments we’ve been in the middle of when he breaks in with a joke. He cannot restrain himself. And there’s nothing quite as effective at pissing off your wife as making a joke in the middle of an argument. But…
The truth is, I’ve come to learn, that my anger was about me, not him. Jamie finds humor everywhere. I watchhim break into laughter so intense that he doubles over and cries multiple times a week! And truthfully, life is just too short not to find as much enjoyment as possible in it. I used to think that jokes in the middle of arguments were a sign that he wasn’t taking me seriously. But a decade-and-a-half into marriage, I’ve learned that it’s actually about his acknowledgement that there is still humor and joy in the world, even in the tense moments. There is always laughter to be had. And if you let yourself go for a minute, you’ll find out that laughter is quite healing.
Find your bubble and make it strong.
Jamie’s mom nicknamed him “Peter Pan” a longtime ago because she believed he would be the boy who would never grow up. To some extent, that’s been true. He still finds silly humor and joy everywhere he goes. And he relishes in childish behaviors and celebrations.
When Jamie and I first became friends, he told me about his “bubble.” This was the invisible shell he created for himself that kept all the horrible influences of regular life at bay. He claimed this “bubble” was what kept him so childishly joyful. Obviously this bubble has been imperfect. Plenty of times, the worst parts of life overpowered this thin layer and brought him down. Hard. But he has always believed the goal was to build that bubble back up.
Only recently have I come to realize how much that bubble might be the best solution to so much of life’s stresses. Just remove all the nonsense from your own being. Leave it out “there” and keep the joy in “here.” I’m still learning this one. He is too to some extent. But one thing I’ve definitely found, we’ve built a bubble around the two of us. We hide in it together. It’s silly and joyful inside.
Happy one more year!
The older I get the more aware I am how precious every birthday is. Too much has happened in recent years to let me forget how much every minute of life matters. So, yeah, birthdays are important. Birthday season began for Jamie a couple weeks ago and will continue at least another week. And I’m thrilled to celebrate as much as possible. Happy birthday, Peter Pan, Dad, husband, cantor, friend! I’m grateful for you. Every. Single. Day.
Ordinary Days, Meaningful Life is a labor of love geared toward working moms ready to embrace the chaos and find meaning in it. If you found this post meaningful, please share it with someone you think would enjoy it too! I’d love to stay in touch with you! Leave a comment below, contact me, or sign up for the mailing list. I can’t wait to hear from you!