Yesterday (Saturday), my wife turned 30! When I met her she was just turning 20, which means that I have known her for over one-third of her entire life. The wonderful part is that the portion of our lives we will share together is only going to grow.
For her birthday, we went out to an "improv" show -- an improvisational comedy show where the actors make up everything that happens as they go along. This particular show consists of actors who are predominantly LDS. They keep the show clean of obscenity and innuendo to make it family-friendly. We'd been there before, and my wife decided she'd like to go again as part of her birthday celebration. I was pleased to comply as it was quite funny the first time. Now, I'd have to say that it wasn't quite as funny the second time around, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.
I had invited some friends from our church to attend with us, and only three people took us up on the offer (tickets were $12 per person, so it was a pricey date), but it was very good to share the experience. Afterwards they came back to our house for ice cream and stayed up talking until about 10:45 pm. It was a great evening.
Come her actual birthday, the stars magically aligned and we had absolutely no commitments for the day. So, what did we end up doing? Absolutely nothing dramatic. Really. We mostly stayed home with the kids, played games with them (Jungle Uno, Rummikub, and Mexican Train Dominoes), and had the kids help make the meals (actually I did pretty much all the cooking, but they felt involved), allowing my wife to not cook or clean for an entire day (not entirely, but as best we could). My wife really wanted some alone time just to relax (what we call "decompressing"), so I sent her off to go shopping while I took the kids to the grocery store (which actually went fairly well, all things considered). All in all, it was a very good day (and I appear to really like parenthetical comments).
For her birthday, we gave her a bag of her favorite M&Ms, the peanut butter variety. It's a tradition for her birthday that we all get to enjoy, since she graciously shares with us. She was pretty funny because she commented on how I always get her these M&Ms for her birthday, and I just replied that it's analogous to how she always gets me a Dilbert calendar for my work desk every Christmas; it's predictable, yes, but something I always want.
My wife is really funny, though. In the weeks or months prior to a gift-giving holiday, she will often pull me over to the computer and tell me to look at what's on the screen. Then she'll tell me to buy that for her for the gift-giving holiday, and I have to do it right then or else the sales price won't be good and we will have missed it. I usually scramble to a different room, grab my laptop and buy it right then and there on her request. It's only because I do it from a different room and she's not involved in the actual transaction that makes me feel even remotely comfortable getting gifts for her in this way. Needless to say, her birthday gifts don't usually end up being a great mystery to her. Clearly, this ruins the whole birthday-surprise thing, but it's how things get done around here.
Nevertheless, I try to pay attention to things she says off-handedly to see if she says anything that would give me clues to something that she'd like that she wouldn't normally go off and buy on her own (or point me to). This time I think I nailed it -- she was surprised and pleased, and for once I got her something that she didn't have to return or go exchange. You see, our oldest son takes tennis lessons, and some time ago she had lamented how she missed playing. So, I went and bought her a tennis racquet for her birthday. My oldest son was so happy to "give" it to her, and she really was pleased and looks forward to having the chance to play. The racquet is even one that's quite feminine: a pink racquet with the pretty swirls that she adores so much!
First thing out of her mouth, though, was whether or not it was the right size for her. My jaw dropped. I hadn't even considered that there could be different racquet sizes. The possibility that she might need to return or exchange this gift completely took the wind out of my sails. When we later read that the racquet is good for most adult women, the printed word was pleasing music to my ears.
That evening, once we finally got the kids to bed, we just spent some good quality time together. I find it interesting that I've been with this woman for ten years now, and the conversation still isn't even close to getting dull. It seems as time goes on, this good wife of mine continues to surprise me, inspire me, and support and encourage me. With each passing day, let alone year, she becomes more and more my best friend.
A different friend of mine nearly died in a car accident on Friday (he's fine!), but the event prompted a conversation about who we really want to spend eternity with. The answer for me is very simple: it's the woman who holds my hand as we walk down the street together. She just turned 30 yesterday.