When I was 17, loving Don was simple. I was thinking of him all day long, wanting to be with him, talk with him, please him, do things for him, and enjoy him. He was the love of my life.
He still is! So on his 68th birthday, I decided to celebrate this extraordinary man of mine and to think of him all day long and say “I love you” in three ordinary ways using his love language, not necessarily mine.
First, I took the time to be with him and let him know how important he is to me. The day began as usual sipping steaming cups of coffee in our recliners reading our One Year Bibles. Then came a favorite treat, a home cooked breakfast–bacon, eggs, and pecan pancakes with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Mid-morning I took a truck ride into town with him for a Menards run. In the afternoon I brewed sweet tea and took a tall iced glass out to him in his shop and lingered to listen to him explain and show me his current projects.
Our plans for a birthday dinner with friends at the Black Dog Smokehouse fizzled. Dressed and ready to go out at 6, I decided to wait without comment until Don decided to come in for dinner since he was obviously enjoying his passion, working in his shop. At 8:30 he moseyed in, and we went to a late dinner at the Outback and split a great steak as we laughed and reminisced and talked about life. I shared what I loved about him and then gave him a birthday bag with little index cards describing the little things I had done throughout the day to celebrate him.
Secondly, I did what was important to him. Admittedly the things I did were just little things, but to my hubby, they said “I love you” louder than an expensive present. I ordered customized invoice pads for Vincent Fabrication (only had been on “to do list” for six months), got bills out to his customers, and ordered his 3 month niacin supply. Then I did some unordinary birthday shopping: 1) getting a certified check to pay his speeding ticket from our Texas trip, 2) finding him a set of his (not my) ideal kind of water glasses – 22 oz. tall, heavy, and clear glass, and 3) getting a few favorite things when at Meijers like two tubs of his nightly staple – Breyers ice cream, along with mixed nuts, cashews, two dozen bottles of Gatorade, two packs of his favorite Pilot v7 pens, some specialty beer, all his refills of heart meds, etc. I also set a yard sale date at a friend’s house so that Don can once again use his trailer that now holds all the waiting yard sale treasures. Then I called AT&T and extended his cell phone ring from 15 seconds to 30 seconds so he has time to answer. (Yes, they will do that at no charge if you ask.) Little ordinary things indeed, but he liked them.
Thirdly, I made plans to continue to bless him. I researched the web for musical events going on and although none were on his birthday, future events are now posted on the frig to enjoy this summer. On Facebook I also shared that he was having a birthday, and he heard from 56 friends (some even from high school) and had another 66 likes. This blog was another small gift, one really special to Don, as he consider my writing a part of our destiny as we share our lives and Godstories with others.
And yes, I made him a birthday cake (inspired by a Pike County friend’s comment that she remembered this delicious wedding cake I made 31 years ago.) I whipped up the recipe again, but the cake didn’t come out of the oven until 10:30 that night so I decided to continue his birthday celebration the next day. I explained that it takes me longer now to get everything done to carry out all that I plan.
The next morning I stocked up with fresh fruits and vegetables at the Farmers Market and for lunch I fried the Mississippi catfish our kids and grandkids had caught along with his brother Lester’s melt-in-your-mouth sweet corn, fresh tomatoes, slaw, and watermelon, and of course, the carrot cake with cream cheese icing. Then we topped it off with the most important ingredient for a perfect lunch, the company of good friends, this time, Tom and Nancy Moser, who were visiting from Texas.
Another birthday is over. Don enjoyed it immensely and so did I. I’m really tired, but happy. Yet the celebration of life continues, extraordinary life in ordinary days, according to plan. After all, this is what the Jesus whom we follow has promised,
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10
Jesus has truly given us a rich and satisfying life and we are learning to appreciate each ordinary day of it.
My challenge to you is to now go and do something extraordinarily ordinary for your loved ones. Enjoy the ride.