Yesterday made 20 (TWENTY) birthdays I have celebrated with Chris. If you are not the quickest at math let me help you: I was 21 when we met. In case you are not familiar with New Jersey, again, I will
Chris and I had known each other less than three months when my 22nd birthday rolled around. In preparation for a blind birthday date, I wriggled into my black jeans which contrasted nicely with the sequined gold tank top and matching 4 inch hoop earrings. Plastic pick and 2/3 of a can of hairspray later and I had my coif teased to perfection. Oh. Yeah. Hot. Jersey. Med. Student. On. The. Loose. I seriously can’t type that with a straight face.)
My blind date was a disaster. I came home despondent, hair flat and feet aching from the faux leather clogs. A message from the cute guy downstairs perked me right up. “Hey..uh…I …know you are out with a guy on a date and stuff like that….but I uh…well, wanna come down for a bit when you get back? Cool…Catchya..”
That was the message. He certainly was not the most eloquent fellow. “Catchya??” Really? Catch me where? What am I? A fish? And, are you so busy after that retarded message you can’t complete the thought with the word “later?”
Snap out of my gum and tease out of my hair, I sighed heavily and headed down. As I reached Chris’ door I heard the strum of a guitar. He was playing an Indigo Girls song. I think I knew at that moment that I could REALLY like this guy.
In response to my timid knock, he called: “Yo!” Jesus. Why was I here?? Just what this hot momma needed, another encounter, on her birthday with a loser. I took a deep breath and pushed the door open. The apartment was so cozy and CLEAN. It smelled like…like…cake? There was Chris, guitar pick in his mouth, wearing some God forsaken flannel shirt (I came to learn he literally had dozens of such shirts.)
In his smiling blue eyes I, for the first time, found a comfort that, even to this day, can fix anything. Like an old friend, I found myself kicking off my stupid shoes and flopping down on his couch.
As I regurgitated the disastrous details of my date, my soon to be best friend snuck into his tiny kitchen and emerged with a perfectly frosted, yellow on the inside, chocolate on the outside, home made LAYERED birthday cake decorated with a single flickering candle. I think I knew at THAT moment I would marry that guy.
We talked and laughed for hours about how his mom had bought him cake pans, a mixer and a frosting spatula. Perhaps, she thought, while he was studying to be a doctor, the need would arise for a homemade cake. That Sandy Meyer. Ever prepared. And about how my date thought a fun thing to do would be to attend a church youth meeting and then participate in the covered dish supper in the basement. I had just excused myself from the “post party bowling” when I got the message to meet Chris. We laughed and ate cake and slowly but surely, I fell in love.
Yesterday marked my 20th birthday celebration with my now husband. Boy have things really come full circle. In those 20 birthday’s we have gotten married, had three children, built a successful business, and somehow managed to still enjoy each others company (most days.)
Although Chris did not bake me a cake yesterday, he did pick out a bracelet that is worth more than the rent on that 1993 apartment—so, I kind of forgive him.
The birthday cake here was baked by my amazing and talented nurse: Claree Nanacassee.
Not only was Claree’s cake beautiful and delicious, it also made me weep. Etched around the sides of the cake were the following words: empathetic, fashionista, culinary artist, buff, soooo pretty, freakin’ smart, great taste, determined, driven, compassionate, forgiving, generous, stylish, sassy, shoes, amazing, warm, supportive, funny.
Everyone in the office was asked to say the first word that came to their mind when they thought of me. Claree then put all the words on the cake. (ok, maybe not all….it was my birthday after all)
While I am so moved by each and every observation represented on that cake, my one comment is: NOT ONE person came up with the word “skinny?”
Twenty birthday’s. Dozens of surprises. Countless blessings.Two things in common: a gem of a guy and CAKE