My spouse and his cousin were both born on December 31 although 22 years apart.

Each year we celebrate with barbecue. It is a high-class affair. Everything is served from the white plastic containers in which it arrives. We eat off of paper plates with plastic utensils.  A big black trash bag is hung off of a drawer so that it keeps the bag open. When you finish drowning in barbecue sauce you can just go by and drop your mess in the open bag.

We have the celebration on the 30th rather than the 31st because years ago the young adult family members wanted to go out and enjoy celebrating New Year’s Eve with their friend rather than while the away the evening at a family dinner. Now those younger adults are in their middle years and the next generation is just starting to reach the time when they can go independently to party. We have no good reason at this point to have the party the day before their birthday but we have done it on the 30th for years and years so why change?

Each year the birthday people get a stack of birthday cards. Some years ago I could not decided between a sweet one and a funny one so I got both. Now days people get a funny one and one “mushy” one.

Each person is expected to open their card and read out loud it so everyone can enjoy it. The funny ones are not so hard, the mushy ones are pretty hard to read aloud. However, declaring your undying love for your spouse or a lifetime commitment of caring about a family member is as it should be. We don’t usually do it in public. Nonetheless it is important to let others in your family know the depths of your commitment. It holds us to accountability.

This year my silly card for my spouse is about dog freedom. The serious card is about undying love pledged to stay strong as it says in the marriage vows “for better and for worse.” This year with our house being burned to the ground by a wildfire we have had a taste of the “for worst” part of the “for better or worse.” We agree that it has been hard. We agree that we have seen the “for worse” part. We agree that the better part is still there. We are still very much in love.

birth day cake