Love celebrates

By Mir
December 4, 2008

I have a thing about birthdays.

The whys and wherefores and traumas—real or imagined—therein are not important right now, but for many years, I hated birthdays. I tried to ignore my own, and my uncomfortable attempts to celebrate on others’ special days were, well, less than stellar.

Eventually I outgrew this. (Translation: Eventually I pulled my head out of my ass. You’re welcome!) And then I began to LOVE birthdays! Yay! Let’s make it awesome for you! This process was greatly accelerated once I became a mother, too. Because nothing says “and now you shall have the party I never did, as a demonstration of my love for you” like Pin The Alien In The Spaceship, Little Buzz Lightyear. Or something.

Today is Otto’s birthday.

Otto is just eight months older than I am, so it’s my job to quietly endure the three months while we’re the same age and then rejoice once he’s a year older, again. Because I am super at math, and also arbitrary rules like My Man Must Be Older Than Me.

And y’all know I love Otto to pieces, and you’ve probably picked up that he’s really not an easy guy to pamper in any way, so I would love the chance his birthday affords us to fuss over him REGARDLESS of anything else. There’s little better than the excuse to spoil someone you love.

But there’s more to it, for me.

Otto and I met nineteen years ago when we were sophomores in college. We met in September, and by the time his birthday rolled around in December I was so deeply infatuated with him I would’ve seized any excuse to declare that kismet was at work, trying to unite us. And believe me when I tell you that BOTH of us were utterly INSUFFERABLE back then—Otto was the very picture of the angry young man, fully aware that I was pining for him and maintaining an ambivalence that neither dashed my hopes nor confirmed them; and me, I was a great big gaping, walking wound most of the time. I was DEEP. I wanted you to KNOW just how DEEP I was. Oh, for the time machine which would allow me to smack my 18-year-old self upside the head….

What a lovely couple we would’ve made! (Our prediction, in retrospect: Had we ever managed a romance, back then, we would’ve had one awesome week—two, tops—followed by a vast and fiery mutual hatred. Too bad we never worked that out, huh?)

Anyway. When I found out when Otto’s birthday was, back then, I took it upon myself to enlighten him as to why this date was so significant and proof of our predestination to be together. I don’t remember his reaction, and I bet he doesn’t even remember the conversation.

But the upshot was this: I had transferred to our mutual school because the year before, I’d gone to a different college, further from home. And I’d had a really rough first semester. I basically passed the weeks of my inaugural college experience by slooooowly unraveling, until I did something extraordinarily stupid which resulted in my being kicked out of school asked to take some time off. And that had all gone down the previous year, on December 4th. While Otto was turning 18, and still had no idea that we would ever meet.

My sharing of this tragic story (probably complete with a violin soundtrack, knowing me) did not cause him to declare his undying love for me on the spot, much to my chagrin.

It was a good ten years or so before this day didn’t remind me of how idiotic and screwed up I once was, and for many years the day has passed unnoticed, for me. Ancient history.

But this morning the children scurried around and whispered in too-loud voices and carefully set their homemade cards at Otto’s place at the table. They argued over where and how to best hide to jump out at him. When Otto emerged they flung themselves at him, and then pranced around while he got his breakfast and demanded he read their cards RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW. And then they insisted we do presents RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW. And eventually Otto looked up at me, grin on his face, one arm around each kid, and said, “This is an awesome birthday!”

And for the first time in a long time—feeling very much like my cup runneth over—I remembered that his birthday marks not just his coming into the world, but also a time when I almost left it.

Call it whatever you like, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those two things happened on the same date.

Today we’ll celebrate, for December 4th is a very good day indeed. And my life is so much better with Otto in it—how could I not? It’s a day that calls for goofy cards and painstakingly colored bookmarks which were then carefully “laminated” with scotch tape.

Love works itself out, and when it does, well, that’s cause for celebration. Happy birthday to my darling, my sweetheart, and one of my oldest friends. Who is still older than me.

(And a happy Love Thursday to the rest of you.)


  1. Otto

    Thank you.


  2. Tammy

    Happy Birthday Otto!!

  3. Jessica

    Today is my son’s birthday. He is 16!!!! I am so excited we both made it this far without one of us killing the other LOL

  4. Leandra

    Have you ever read that book about there not being any coincidences in life (can’t think of the name of it at the moment)? It’s kind of a cheesy book, but I don’t believe in coincidences either. It’s fate, kismet, whatever you want to call it.

    Happy Birthday, Otto!!

  5. DianeM

    Happy Birthday Otto, I hope you all have a wonderful day together!!

  6. Randi

    AWWW! My son’s birthday is the 6th, but I’m sure he’s a LOT younger than Otto (not that Otto is old…errr…anyway). Celebrating changes when you have kids, as you can’t help but get excited and make things awesome. I’m so glad that you all found each other again and that you had the two monkeys that you could add into the mix. Happy Birthday Otto!

  7. julie

    Happy Birthday Otto!

  8. Astrogirl

    I like to call it synchronicity – sounds less cheesy than fate ;)

    Happy birthday Otto!!!

  9. kate

    Happy birthday, Otto!

  10. Megan

    I think you just figured out how to pamper Otto – leave it to those loving, squirmy, charming little kids of yours. Happy Birthday Otto – glad you’re no longer DARK just as Mir is no longer DEEP (note: we’re all totally aware of the difference between DEEP [involves bad poetry, interesting sartorial choices and lashings of angst] and deep [involves enough awareness to want to smack one’s younger, DEEPer self])

  11. Rachel

    Happy Birthday to you, Otto!

  12. annette

    I’m glad you didn’t leave this world:). Happy Birthday Otto!

    Now I must google kismet. I lead a very sheltered life.

  13. Jan in Norman, OK

    Yo, Otto! Have a good one, dude!

  14. laurie

    c’mon….what did you do to get kicked out of school???

    (Happy Birthday, Otto)

  15. exile on mom street

    Happy birthday Otto, the man who was formerly dark and probably brooding, and also (I imagine) mysterious! Nothing makes a teenage girl (especially one who is very deep) swoon like a guy who is mysterious.

    I’m glad that December 4 is a day for your family to celebrate LIFE, and especially that it falls on Love Thursday. :-)

  16. el-e-e

    Oh, man. What a great love story. Love you, Mir! Happy Birthday, Otto!

  17. Brigitte

    I’m glad as heck that you DIDN’T leave this world all that time ago. And I guess Otto and the kidlets are too. Happy birthday, Otto!

    So I guess the kids don’t want to cannabilize him anymore, now that they have cake? That WOULD send Chickie’s vegetarianism right out the window, after all. ;-)

  18. MomCat

    Glad you outgrew your tragic depths, Mir. ; )

    Y’all have a wonderful celebration!

  19. Deborah P

    Happy birthday, Otto! and happy Love Thursday everyone! Both happening today. I think that’s synchronicity at its finest.

  20. PunditMom

    Love working itself out is indeed cause for celebration. Thanks for making me remember that. :)

  21. Sarah

    Happy birthday, Otto! I’ve been telling everyone all week that today is the best day of the year and it just got a little better!!

    Why, yes, today is my birthday too. :-D

  22. Em

    Happy Birthday, Otto!

  23. Mit

    Awwww – this and Red Shoes at Joshilyn’s are going to make me weepy on this Love Thursday.

    Happy Birthday Otto

    Happy Life Day Mir!

  24. Shannon

    Happy birthday Otto!

    My husband is one year and 2 months younger than me. (Yup, cradle robber here) I have an insufferable 2 months where I appear to be 2 years older than he is. For his part my husband doesn’t even care and may in fact roll his eyes when I go on about it.

  25. Aimee

    Happy birthday, Otto!

    As for the other significant December 4th, I’ll just say I’m very glad you didn’t leave this world then. And I’ll thank you, too, for the reminder that it is possible to grow out of youthful stupidity and DEEPness.

    BTW, I always had that “my man must be older than I” thing, but then I went and married someone three and a half months younger. So now, I’m 40 and he’s… NOT. The bastard.

  26. Crista

    Wow. Happy Birthday Otto! and Happy Rebirth Mir :)

  27. Chewie

    This is gonna be a weird comment.

    When my best friend’s husband died, she pined for him. One of the things she really cried a lot about was missing his hairy arms. I know. Weird. But she just missed having him rough man essence around…and it landed on his hairy arms somehow. And she would cry and moan and wail and say I JUST WANT HIS HAIRY ARMS BACK.

    So when I saw this picture, I saw those hairy arms of your husband and I immediately thought of my friend, who is actually very similar to you, and how her life took her back to her high school/college sweet heart who ironically lost HIS wife to the same thing that took my friend’s husband’s life. They re met and are married today…she has hairy arms back in her life.

    Isn’t it sort of nice? To have some hairy arms around?



  28. Burgh Baby

    Happy birthday, Otto!

  29. Melissa

    A very happy birthday to Otto!

  30. Kendra

    Happy Birhday Otto!

  31. RuthWells

    Happy birthday, Otto, and well done Mir for managing to let fate take its course!

  32. Lori

    Happy birthday Otto! Mir, I’m only assuming that you’re cooking something amazing. Because you haven’t been cooking enough lately. And clearly Otto deserves a ridiculously time-consuming, over-the-top meal.

  33. Susan

    Happy Birthday Otto. I’ll probably always remember your birthday, even though I don’t know you, because it is my brother’s birthday too. And if you’re half as great as my brother, you’re awesome! :-)

  34. k-ma

    so sweet. it’s amazing how things have worked out in the past few years. :)

    happy birthday otto!

  35. Headless Mom

    Happy, happy day Otto!

  36. Katie

    Happy Birthday Otto!

  37. ImpostorMom

    Happy Birthday Otto!

  38. bob

    Happy Birthday, Otto.

  39. The Other Leanne

    Happy Birthday to you both.

  40. Lylah

    Happy birthday, Otto! I hope your birthdays are ever more awesome each year…

  41. tammy

    Hey, tell him we said Mazel Tov!

    (You know, they’re throwing a parade in his honor downtown tonight, right? I mean, they SAY it’s for Santa, but dude, that guy is so last year.)

  42. Stephanie

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it’re one fortunate gal, Mir! Congrats to Otto AND you too!

  43. ChristieNY

    Oh Mir, happy love Thursday to you, and a very happy birthday to your sweet Otto. May you celebrate this beautiful day together for many, many years to come.

    (And for what it’s worth, my husband had his birthday on the 2nd, turning a “whole year older than me”, until next month. When I catch up. lol)

  44. Katie in MA

    Happy Birthday, Otto!!! Hope each year is awesomer than the last. :)

  45. tara

    Happy Birthday Otto! Having a man older than you is a must. Mine is 4 years older and from June to September it is 5 years.

  46. Libby

    Awww man, that is just way too sweet. Happy birthday Otto!

    And thank goodness you did not leave us that day Mir!

  47. steff

    Happy Birthday! You forgot to drink the milk outta your cereal bowl! :-)

  48. Kath

    Happy Love Thursday. Happy Birthday to Otto.

  49. Jillian Bandes

    Cute birthday tribute. Best wishes to your whole family.

  50. Beth in IA

    Happy birthday wishes to Otto! This entry was a wonderful gift itself. :)

  51. Sheila

    Happy Birthday Otto! The Internets love you!

  52. margie

    happy birthday otto. best wishes for a happy healthy year.

  53. Kim

    Happy birthday Otto! Today is my 21 year anniversary. I don’t think that is a coincidence either. December 4th is meant for wonderful things!

  54. jennielynn

    Happy Birthday, Mr. Mir.

  55. dr aletta

    What a great day it is! And thanks for the ‘hairy arms’ story, Chewie. It’s all so romantic! *sigh*

  56. Traci

    Mr Mir? I like that!! (not sure he would though) so I’ll just say Happy Birthday Otto!

    I have to endure 3 months every year that I am OLDER than my hubby — THEN we’re the same age again. Whew. Why is it that we women are still stuck thinking that we can’t be older than the men we love?! Of course, I started dating my husband when we were sophomores in h.s. (both 15 at the time) so the age difference didn’t really mean anything then. NOW, though…. mmmm

  57. Half Assed Kitchen

    It’s a big day in the Woulda Shoulda household. So glad you’re having an awesome birthday, Otto. And, Mir, I’m so glad you’re here to help him celebrate, and to entertain us.

  58. crockpot lady

    Happy Birthday, Otto!!!

    Adam is also 8 mos older than me, and I feel the exact same way.

  59. StephLove

    Happy Birthday dear, Otto!

    And I’m happy you didn’t die, Mir. The world would have been a poorer place without you.

  60. Flea

    Happy birthday, Otto! Happy lifeday, Mir!

  61. Pop C

    Happy Love Thursday Mir.

    Happy Birthday Otto and many, many, many more.

  62. Amanda from Maine

    Happy Birthday to you Otto!!!!

    My boyfriend of 11 years is older than me too…..can’t stand to think of being with someone younger than me…it creeps me out…..

    Have a great day everyone in the Mir-Otto house!!!!


  63. sheila

    Wonderful post! I think you guys both had something ‘little’ back then because you were so meant ‘to be’ in the future. It was the universe telling you to hold on for a few years cuz ya just weren’t ready at the time and had some stuff (good/bad) to work through (lessons to learn) before you could be happy together.

    I’m not even a shrink, but damn that sounds good!

  64. Dawn

    Happy Birthday, Otto!

    Very, VERY glad that you didn’t succumb to the DEEPness back then, Mir. The world would have lost a wonderful person.

  65. Peggy

    Happy Birthday Otto!!

    And Mir Happy Love Thursday! I’m glad you are still here to write your amazing stories.

  66. Nancy R

    Happy Birthday, Otto!

    Happy Love Thursday, Mir-Otto Family!

  67. tj

    Happy Love Thursday! And Happy Birthday Otto!

  68. momzen

    There is something wonderful about the way you write, Mir. I was so engrossed in your story, and how wonderful it is to have love (Love Thursday) in your (my) life, that I didn’t remember until halfway through the comments, that we celebrated a birthday here yesterday also. My youngest baby just turned 3. Anyway, Happy Birthday, Otto. Now, and forever I will remember your birthday as the same as my E’s. (Wow – we must be linked by kismet too!) :)

  69. mama speak

    Happy B-day Otto! Must be a good day, it’s my dad’s b-day and apparently I wanted it for mine as well, but I timed it a little slowly and I’m on the 5th.

    I too was DEEP Mir and Gawd, I could’ve written parts of this post! I wish I could write as well as you. You’re able to get to the point (which is where I seem to have problems, meandering off here and there, like now) and still use your words to evoke such emotion.

    You are all so very lucky. Now find some place for those kids to spend the night & have a grown up celebration. Yes, I mean sleep in. Duh!

  70. Barbara

    (Mir, please pass-on my message.) Many happy returns to nominated-for-saint-Otto. We are all glad you were born, and celebrating that day, well, as it should be.

  71. Alison

    Happy Birthday Otto!

    Mir we are all glad you rae still here to celebrate too.

  72. goteeman

    Happy Birthday to YOU
    Happy Birthday to You
    Happy Birthday, Dear OTTO….
    Happy Birthday to YOU…
    and MANY MANY MORE….


  73. Debbi

    Happy Belated Birthday Otto!

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