Happy birthday to me

Published 10:24 pm Thursday, October 16, 2008

Right away, let me ask for your indulgence.

It’s my birthday as I write this column, and I’m here at work feverishly swatting down tasks in this crazy whack-a-mole game we call a daily newspaper. I could be at home with my feet propped up on the coffee table, basking in the king-for-a-day benefits of celebrating a birthday with my wonderful wife, my stepdaughter and our three grandkids. Instead, I’m adding calendar items and writing about municipal credit ratings.

I think I’ve earned the right to be sentimental today, so I’ll ask again that you indulge me.

Email newsletter signup

To be fair, it was my own choice to be at work today. Our company benefits include a paid holiday for one’s birthday, and even my brief tenure here had earned me that privilege. I chose, however, to postpone that day until November, when my wife and I celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary. As it turns out, I’d rather mark my birthday alone than celebrate our anniversary that way.

It may surprise my wife to hear that I actually remember how long we’ve been married. In fact, whenever the subject comes up, my reply is quick: “Is that all? It seems like so much longer.” Clearly I have a very forgiving wife, who loves me in spite of myself.

And that’s really the point, and here’s where I’ll need you to bear with me as I turn sentimental.

Love that I don’t deserve, lavished on me by a family I never expected (I’m a grandpa without having children of my own, after all.) is so much more than I ever could have hoped for.

When I awoke this morning, I was the only one at home — everyone else had headed off to school or to work. Still, the house was full of love. It was in the smell of the breakfast that had been left for me; it was in the sight of the colorful birthday bags that awaited me; it was in the memory of 9-year-old Stephen’s words to me before bedtime Wednesday night: “Good night, Grandpa; I love you…. Oh, and in case I don’t see you tomorrow, ‘Happy birthday!’”

It couldn’t have been happier, Stephen, even if I’d had the day off work.

RES SPEARS is the managing editor of the Suffolk News-Herald. He can be reached at 757.934.9616 or at res.spears@suffolknewsherald.com.