My body clock has a few misaligned cogs and wheels as a result of the nights, so I've been up since 2.30am trying to decide whether to do this. I've mostly looked at the clock projection on our ceiling, listened to you hum right beside me, and try to figure out what to say.
I remember when leaving for work in the early days, and I'd kiss you just enough to wake you slightly so you'd know I was gone. I wanted our parting to be sweet and sorrow. I'd get short shrift if I did that now, because chances are you've been up late writing, or the Youngling has kept you awake. When they've left the nest, we'll do that again. We've grown. Together. You and me..
We're not a couple that does PDA, which doesn't mean the A isn't there. We still laugh about how when we first met, even though we may have been going somewhere together, we never walked beside each other. It was mostly you lagging behind, and me yelling at you to walk up.
I'll never forget a few months ago when I was standing by the sink, doing dishes. The Youngling was probably proclaiming as he always does, "Papa is doing dishes". You looked up at me with a straight face, voice heavy with solemnity and said, "you know, sometimes I think I'd be sad if you died."
There's that picture of us on the day we first met (sometime in May), and I wonder what was going through our heads. I'm sure it wasn't marriage. But here we are six years on, married for four, with a beautiful two-year old boy.
I think the real reason I'm doing this is because, you're a person who gives everything great thought. You never turn down an opportunity to seek underlying meaning to even the most mundane of things. Your threats (yes, they are threats) to run away this week to a monastery is a perfect illustration of how introspective you can be. And just as I know and suspected, you've been thinking very much about your milestone birthday, if the posts, here, here, and here, are anything to go by.
All I wish to do is to remind you that it's a milestone, not a millstone. You can look back and be proud of what you've achieved both professionally and personally. I know you don't like to wear your breasts and ladyparts as a badge of honour, but Anyika is an achievement. It won't win you an Oscar or a Booker, or even a day at the spa. But here's the thing, none of those accolades, and none of the adulation would adequately reward and acknowledge what you've done. "Life is God's most precious gift", and I can never thank you enough for sustaining it daily in the Youngling.
Here's what's wonderful about your birthday: you can look forward. There are still smells to smell, sights to see, winds to feel. And it's because of your capacity to be alive that the journey is only just beginning. Everyday, everyday, I chuckle, and invariably, it's because of something you've said or done. A token of why we're married, a small indicator of why I love you, why I'm most alive when I'm with you.
There'll be no grand parties, no parades (it sounds like gale force winds outside), and there won't be too much fanfare, but make no mistake, this is a celebration.
As for the book(s), believe me, that's the least of my worries.
In the immortal words of Tiny Tim, as burned on celluloid, God bless us, everyone.
With all my heart,
Nkem (and Anyika)
ps. I promise not to do something like this for at least another ten years.
pps. It's now gone 5am and I'm coming back to bed. Please don't kick me.