For the record, my husband has never forgotten my birthday.
OK. That is partly because I won't let him. I am one of those people who not only counts down the days to my birthday, but circles it in multi-colored ink on the calendar on the refrigerator. I even draw stars.
I love my birthday. I believe in birthdays. I believe it's the one day of the year that is truly yours, when people think of you and wish good things for you and, sometimes, even buy you presents.
And I don't even mind getting older.
My parents did this to me in my youth by putting together these wonderful parties for me and my family and friends. They weren't MTV-worthy, mind you, but they were pretty elaborate little parties for an elementary school kid.
One year my mom rented a little kids' carnival with a ferris wheel and a carousel. And there was always plenty of food, a big colorful cake and punch. One year a classmate gave a report the following day entitled, "Everything I Ate at Lori's Birthday Party."
This year's circles around the date are in purple, green and gold because, well, this year I share MY day with Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras. In New Orleans.
So my husband would really have to be a dolt to forget my birthday.
But one year, he did forget what birthday I was celebrating. And I have never let him forget that either.
When my husband turned 40, I pulled out all the stops. Not only did I throw him a big birthday party proclaiming, "Lawdy, Lawdy Mawty's Fawty!" I also put an ad in the newspaper. I had a friend put signs up on the roadway leading to his work. I even had his name put on the signs at the local baseball parks.
But when I turned 40? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Well, I did get a nice dinner at my favorite restaurant in a driving rain storm. But no party. Not even a cake.
Oh, he remembered the day and the date just fine. But my age? Completely slipped his mind.
And I knew it that week when I mentioned in passing that it was my 40th birthday and I saw his eyes get big. Real big.
Now he will tell you that it's all my own damn fault. I shouldn't have been born in March, right in the middle of baseball season. How is he supposed to be expected to remember his baseball schedule, his team's batting average, fielding percentage and ERA as well as how old his wife is? Something's got to give, right?
Of course, now he has a 10-year-old daughter who helps him to remember.
"How old am I going to be," I asked her tonight at dinner as we discussed how we planned to celebrate my big day next week.
"49," she declared, without even having to think about it.
And his eyes got big again.
Then I gave him his notice.
"That means you have a year and a week to plan," I told him.
"For what?" he replied.