When you look through the world through kids' eyes, life can so easily be perfect. A birthday is a formula. Cake + candles + presents + singing = happiness. It equals an ordered universe. This is what is and should be. They know nothing of how hard the past few weeks have been in the news, in our work responsibilities, in travel and juggling and unanticipated major home repairs and dental bills. They know hugs. They know making wishes.
We know more, of course, and as such birthdays make me feel quiet. We have known friends and strangers in newspaper headlines who will never see this age. We know about ailments and finance and how a work trip is even longer for both the traveler and the spouse-parent left behind when sequestration inhibits the steady flow of airport traffic. We know, I think, that every birthday is equal parts joyous and somber. Another year is a privilege not to be taken lightly.
Every year we age we learn more clearly that there is no ordered universe, there is only the small orders we can make around ourselves in tidy tiny nests.
I know very little, but I will tell you this thing I know for sure: that lovely husband of mine is quite the man. He is industrious, brilliant, calm, steady, strong, witty, gentle and kind. And also blue-eyed, dimpled, and has all his hair. Considering, based on their first attempt at candle placement, that two of our kids think he just turned 93 years old, that is no small thing.
Birthdays aren't really a math lesson, despite the focus they often cast on numbers. They're a homily, a cautionary tale reminding us to appreciate what we have and celebrate that which is worth celebrating, the picayune and the momentous. And so, this week, we did.
(Happy, happy birthday, Lovely Husband. You're the best.)