Today's your birthday, and you think it's pretty ordinary.
No hullabaloo here. You don't like surprises, you buy yourself the things you want, you're going to make your own dinner because that's better for both of us, and I couldn't even order a cake without checking with you to make sure we got the right flavor.
Yeah, it's a pretty ordinary Thursday.
And yet. You make ordinary best. You make ordinary more.
When I turn the corner, I praise the ordinary glory of your car in the driveway, food on the counter, Thirty Rock on the TV, and you with your glass of milk in your grandmother's chair. Or I give thanks for the sound of your engine cutting off, your door shutting, the key in the lock. I rejoice in our evening rituals, in our quiet talks in bed (even when you're trying to go to sleep for your early wake up call), one of my favorite joys of married life. The talks shot through with deep knowing, even on the surface, even though there's still so much to learn.
You make ordinary an exploration.
You take in my worries and walk them back, deescalate, calm. Strong arms, strong words, strong heart. You stand tall on the mound and play the game with all you've got, but losing doesn't defeat you. When you were knocked to the lowest of lows, you stood up again with even more courage.
You make ordinary a gift.
You say that you have the humor of a five-year-old (how old are you turning today...?), and yet you are one of the oldest souls I know. Typically, you waffle in between the two, which never ceases to make life interesting.
You make ordinary fascinating.
Speaking of waffling, when we wake up on Saturday mornings you ask me, "What do you want for breakfast?", then dart around the kitchen and set my tea water brewing as I'm still stirring in bed. Sometimes, you decide you're going to cook two full meals in one day, filling the house with smells from a true Cajun kitchen of which your grandmother and aunt would be proud. You are steeped in family, and all that it means and matters.
I never thought a Sunday morning grocery run would be one of the most enjoyable parts of the week, striding jauntily into your happy place long before most people are awake, as we team up to figure out meals and grab what have become our staples, greeting the cashiers and managers that we now know by name. In church, you take my hand for the Lord's Prayer, because it's what you did growing up.
You make ordinary my prayer.
On a long drive, you hold us steady, and when it's my turn to take the wheel, even your sacked-out presence by my side is a comfort. When we travel, you're organized yet flexible, seeking awe and beauty, branching out from beloved routine.
Even when we are away from our ordinary, you make it feel like home.
Maybe longtime married people are chuckling at this post and saying that my joy in our ordinariness will fade. Maybe one day, with children and dogs and a mortgage and the pieces of life we don't yet have, the ordinariness of the simple, single couple will sound like the most marvelous, extraordinary thing in the world. Maybe it will.
And yet, our ordinary has already changed in these nearly six years, shifting in place, career, daily schedule, knowledge of one another and the world. We've had challenges; of course there will be more. We've had gladness and sorrow; of course there will be more.
But in every day with you, there's ordinary. And you transform ordinary into something extra.
Happy birthday, love.