Thursday, July 12, 2007

Another Year Older...

In keeping with the “6 years ago” reminiscence tradition…

July 14, 2001

Your birthday occurred two weeks after our first date. We had already planned our trip to the Moon Palace in Cancun probably two days earlier. We paid our own ways there, which was as it should be. We flew out of Houston, but had no way to get there, so my gift to you was the flight from Austin to Houston. Yeah. A whopping 100 bucks. I know. Nothing tangible, but foreshadowing of things to come as we have given each other trips as gifts in recent years.

Probably a week into our blossoming relationship, we had dinner at Trudy’s North Star. As you know, Trudy’s is a haven for local artists to display and sell their pieces. You admired this steel rendition of a cow skull. It was unique and you really liked it. By the time your birthday rolled around, I knew that I just *had* to get you something more than a plane ticket. You were the “one” you see. I needed to give you something you could hold and admire.

You know what comes next.

I made an excuse about errands I had to run. I drove to Trudy’s with my fingers crossed and hoped that no one had picked up that little gem. It was there. I bought it and put it in the trunk of my car. I picked up a card, which I think you still have somewhere, ran home and packed a bag (I was quickly running out of clothes!), put the bag in the trunk, put the card on the sculpture, and drove back to your place.

When I walked in, I asked you to get my bag for me. I watched as you opened my trunk and saw the gift. You had the biggest grin on your face and you were truly surprised and touched that I remembered. I still remember the look. And I was amazed at how such a simple thing could inspire such happiness.

Five days later we were on our way to Mexico, where we said “I love you” to each other for the first time and decided that we needed to get married. But that’s another story for another time…

So this is the 7th birthday I’ve had the privilege of celebrating with you. We’ve gone to both extremes on these days from lavish to scraping together a date when we didn’t have the money. I cannot say that I’ve been able to surprise you on each birthday like I did that first year (not even a surprise party surprised you!!), and I certainly cannot say that finding something to give you over the past 6 years has been easy. Hey, we are the worst about buying when the mood strikes us and not waiting for an occasion!

For this special birthday milestone, however, I want to make sure that you KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that my gift to you is from my heart. You may not receive anything that you can hold in your hands on the day (logistics!), I haven’t planned a trip, and you know exactly what you are getting, probably, but you will know how loved and cherished you are. This is my gift to you.

Happy Birthday, Dr Pop. Sometimes our lives have been like riding the “Super Loop” (Six Flags reference), sometimes the NYNY Las Vegas coaster, occasionally we’re in the fun house of a local fair, and every now and then we’re simply riding the lazy river at Schlitterbahn. But we’re always next to each other and going through it together. That’s what love is. And I do love you so very much.

*As for the cow skull? It currently resides in storage after hanging proudly first in your duplex, then in the first place we lived in together.

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