My birthday was two weeks ago. Thanks for noticing.
Actually, that's not at all fair, because I have a longstanding history of not making a big deal out of my birthday. Not in an "I'm not going to say anything about it, and let's just see who remembers" kind of way, it's that I honestly never really think to make a big deal of it. The weeks leading up to "the big day" have always just seemed like any other week, except that I would occasionally think, "Oh yeah, my birthday is coming up." Last year was a bit of an exception; January and I both agreed that the 30th ought to be celebrated in a big way, so she was awesome enough to throw me a bash featuring Rock Band, a cake, and even a bunch of my good friends from out of state. It was the perfect birthday party for a guy who doesn't care much for birthdays.
What has become one of my favorite birthday celebrations, however, is our tradition of birthday beer. When January and I first started spending time together in the Spring of 2005, I of course failed to mention the passing of my 27th birthday. The following week, after hearing from some friends that my birthday had passed, January casually offered to buy me a drink the next time we were out. We had only been hanging out off and on for about a month at this point, so neither of us really knew all that much about the other. After some initial scheduling conflicts, we agreed to meet up at O'Reilly's pub in Clintonville when her evening class ended around 10:00pm.
When the evening finally rolled around, we met up as scheduled, had a few drinks, and got to know each other for the first time. I got to hear all about her crazy adventures in Texas, the history of her mom's struggle with breast cancer, and how she ended up living in Columbus in a house with nine roommates. She got to hear about my family history, my time in Chicago, and my planned trip to Italy. As I recall, we sat there talking until they were getting ready to shut the bar down. It was the first really solid block of time January and spent one one one, getting to know each other.
In memory of that evening, we have established a tradition: Every year, when my birthday rolls around, January offers to take me out for "birthday beer" on the first Wednesday a full week after my birthday. It helps that we live two blocks away from O'Reilly's, where we can even sit in the same booth we shared five years ago, and talk about how much has changed, and how little we actually knew about each other back then. She still orders amaretto sours and I still order Harp, but so much else has changed. It's funny to think of that evening, with the two of us sitting across from each other, with no idea that we would one day be married and living together just a few blocks away.
So I want to take a minute and thank my wife for five years of birthday beer spanning two and a half years of marriage, six months of engagement, and nine months of dating. Same time, same place next year?