What's On the Brain

A Letter to the Editor: On the Matter of Your Fiftieth Birthday

(Warning: this is not a jewelry post)

Dear Editor –

I write this letter to you today, on the fiftieth anniversary of your birth, not as a love letter, but rather as a thank you.

Today is a day I know you’ve had mixed feelings about. On the one hand, you’re still alive. I mean, not that you wouldn’t be at this age, but you and I both know that the Scorpio personality/hot streak likely put you in more death-defying situations than most. You liked to party. You liked your women. And you were the first to jump up when a fight broke out. It’s part of what makes you so wondrous. It’s part of what drew me to you in the first place.

On the other hand, you’re no longer twenty-five. But let’s face it, do you really want to be? Sure, your hair was long and Thor-like, and your shoulders could balance three Argentinian acrobats at once (p.s. I don’t want to know if that ever happened or what they looked like.) But was life really all that great back then? Would you want to go back? Would you if you could?

I will never forget the first time I introduced you to my best friend. We got together for lunch at that little creperie on Bainbridge Street. “He reminds me of Frazier Crane,” she whispered, and I knew exactly what she meant. You were a mystery to women like us. We knew and dated and married the guys who could roll off hockey stats from the previous ten years. You knew those things, but could also name every one of Giuseppe Verdi’s twenty-seven operatic works. And you were tall. And you were handsome. And you weren’t even vaguely similar to anyone who either of us had ever laid eyes upon.

So today, I’d like to take some time to thank you for what you do for me, and for what you’ve given me, and simply, for who you are to me. I’ve written fifty thank yous below to commemorate your day, but please know I could pen fifty, a hundred, or a thousand more. I hope you know just how deeply grateful I always feel for these moments of grace.

  • Thank you for handing me your business card, and for returning my email several months later, and for asking me, at some point, if I was happy. I wasn’t then, and I think you knew that.
  • Thank you for the single red rose. You know when. And you know where.
  • editorThank you for kissing me at the stoplight on the corner in The City. And for taking the cab back with me, no matter how badly it smelled.
  • Thank you for not having a Southern accent, but for very much having Southern manners.
  • Thank you for every time you stand up when I leave the table.
  • Thank you for every time you stand up when I come back.
  • Thank you for Aida.
  • Thank you for never once making me feel like a high school education wasn’t enough.
  • Thank you for liking my grays. And my wrinkles. And my laugh lines.
  • Thank you for showing me your New Orleans. Over the years it has truly become my New Orleans, too.
  • Thank you for being as punctual as I am. This is huge. It’s actually huger than huge.
  • Thank you for each episode of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and The Rachel Maddow Show; for every Republican/Democratic National Convention and every night of election coverage. I can’t wait to watch the next big event with you.
  • Thank you for your wine knowledge, and for growing with me as we learned more together.
  • Thank you for not being a Scotch drinker so that I know I always have the bottle to myself.
  • Thank you for agreeing to the names we named our children; I can’t imagine either of them named anything else.
  • Thank you for Germany and Austria and Switzerland and Italy and France and Belgium and wherever we go next.
  • Thank you for eating cheesesteaks with me while standing over a trash can at 2 am in the middle of a South Philly intersection.
  • Thank you for understanding that Italians really do things differently and for going with the flow even when you disliked the pizzelles.
  • Thank you for pushing me to be better at the things you know in your heart I do really well.
  • Thank you for never making me feel like what I do in this world is a joke.
  • Thank you for laughing as hard as I’ve ever seen you laugh when I finally told you I was a nuclear physicist.
  • Thank you for every prenatal vitamin you handed me because you knew I’d forget to take it on my own.
  • Thank you for flowers in my hotel room when I seriously needed flowers in my hotel room.
  • Thank you for always asking how my day is.
  • Thank you for being a guy I can throw in a tux and put in the middle of a room of five-hundred jewelry people, while never having to worry about whether you are doing okay without me.
  • Thank you for being the husband my friends now like more than they like me.
  • Thank you for every time you corrected my grammar. I know it may have pissed me off when you did it, but I’m grateful you did… trust me on that.
  • Thank you for not leaving when you probably should have.
  • Thank you for convincing me to stay when I thought about leaving.
  • Thank you for having faith in me, in all ways, for all of our days.
  • Thank you for being the Flash, Scarecrow, the Mad Hatter, a Christmas tree, Perseus, and Mr. Incredible. The last of the bunch is who you truly are.
  • Thank you for every appointment reminder for every single thing that matters in our lives. You’re The Great Organizer and I don’t know how I’d do it without you.
  • Thank you for the sacrifices you make to take care of our children and me. You make a lot. I know that you do.
  • Thank you for black-tie New Year’s Eves at the symphony. They are always my favorite evenings. Let’s do it again this year.
  • Thank you for speaking more than one language. It’s fun to show you off, in more ways than one.
  • Thank you for loving books as much as I do, and for teaching our children to love them, too.
  • Thank you for being the realist when I’m off in one of my fantasy worlds. You even me out. We’re quite the balancing act.
  • Thank you for never “wasting your gum.”
  • Thank you for keeping yourself fit and healthy; our children need you around. I need you around, too.
  • Thank you for helping me stay calm through every seizure, every needle, every test, every exam, and every ounce of pain our child suffered through. I will never forget your strength in those moments.
  • Thank you for still wanting to go on lunch dates.
  • Thank you for all the times you wished me a happy monthly anniversary. I’m sorry I took those times for granted.
  • Thank you for the pride you have in who I’ve become as a writer, but more importantly, who I’ve become as a person.
  • Thank you for thinking three steps ahead.
  • Thank you for providing me, and us, with this life, and this marriage. Strange circumstances brought us together, it’s only fitting our relationship be anything but normal.
  • Thank you for maturity. I didn’t know it existed before you came along.
  • Thank you for every time you laid down your sword when all you wanted was to fight to the death.
  • Thank you for telling me I’m still pretty. At my age, as a woman, you have no idea how much it means.
  • Thank you for being a shoulder when my tears are too much for my heart to bear alone. I know I bring sadness upon myself at times. I’m happy you’re the person who understands me best.
  • Thank you, finally, for being my editor on this blog. I’m sorry I couldn’t send this to you to edit, but I think you know why, and I hope I get a pass this one and only time.

Happy fiftieth birthday to you: my partner, my confidant, my teacher, my friend, and of course… my dear, sweet husband. May it be all that you hoped it would be and a hundred times more.

You made me better. You make me better. Don’t ever, ever forget that.

-Barbara

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2 thoughts on “A Letter to the Editor: On the Matter of Your Fiftieth Birthday

  1. Britt says:

    BRB crying…Happy, happy birthday to a man who is clearly so special to a woman who is most definitely very special. Wishing you many more!

  2. Pingback: From Lovers to Your Landlord: Holiday Gifts For Every Man in Your Life |

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