“Brilliantly lit from stem to stern, she looked like a sagging birthday cake.” (Walter Lord)
Last week, I turned 44 years old and my husband turned 50 years old. On the same day. I remember the night I found out we shared the same birth date…and how I wasn’t sure I was thrilled about that. Second marriage moment #23? I changed my mind!
It happened like this.
My husband came home from work one day, said he found a great hotel deal in Las Vegas and that he thought we should take advantage of it to celebrate our birthdays. It immediately hit me like a ton of bricks: sharing a birthday with my husband just might not be too bad! I agreed to go.
But sadly, as the birthday approached, I began to have second thoughts: we shouldn’t spend the money, I’d never not been with my children on my birthday before, work was busy, who would supervise the children while we were gone? Then shortly before the trip, an extended family member scheduled a wedding we needed to attend and my husband announced, “I don’t think we can do both. Maybe we shouldn’t go to Las Vegas.”
As he voiced what I had been thinking and feeling all along, I suddenly realized how much I wanted to go. How important it was, to me, to go. (I’m not sure why. But I will say in a remarriage, in my experience, there are so many things already decided for you. It is never just you and your husband, alone, and deciding what you want or what is best for you and then doing that. You begin your marriage and attempt to build a new family, with two other already existing families, and children, in place. You never, or rarely, have the luxury of considering only your needs—not to mention you start out your marriage with so many things you can’t control, or do, due to the choices of others.) Maybe it was just a moment of stubbornness where I couldn’t have one more person make one more choice and decide something for me, or have one more person’s choice affect my plans and my life, but for some reason I felt it was important to get away to Las Vegas with my new husband.
So I said, “It’s my birthday. It’s your birthday. It’s our six month wedding anniversary. You got a great deal on a hotel. There isn’t a present or gift I want. And although every remarried couple we know told us the most important thing we should do as a remarried couple is to get away alone, without children, as often as we can—even every month—we haven’t done it once. I think I’m going to Vegas, and I hope you’ll join me!”
We went to Vegas.
We went cheap. We ate inexpensively. We didn’t see any shows. But we enjoyed all our hotel had to offer, and especially enjoyed our time alone together and the chance to talk and laugh together, for 57 hours, uninterrupted! Turns out, sharing your birthday with your spouse has its perks, too. When the hotel spa found out it was our birthday, they gave us a complimentary visit. And unexpectedly, my husband’s boss called and told me take my husband out to dinner for his birthday—on him. So I had crab legs (my favorite thing in the world, next to lobster) for the first time in two years—since beginning my unexpected life.
Who cares if you or your birthday cake is sagging with age or years…as long as you’re sagging on a birthday getaway with your husband? Not me.
“I should be committed to an institution immediately for even thinking I could get away with that…” (Johnny Depp)