Today is my wife's birthday. Every year, I make her a carrot cake. I don't even remember when I started doing this, but we got this cookbook when we got married, and it's supposed to be aimed at young married couples, and it's fine and all, but in there is this recipe for carrot cake. I made it for her one year, and it's pretty amazing, and it was decreed that henceforth, she would have this cake for her birthday.
Every year, we seem to get busier and busier. The runup to the birthday this year has been incredibly packed between a kitchen renovation, Thanksgiving, the general toil that is raising a toddler, and a million other annoying things that make you sigh heavily when you finally get to sit down, and make a terrible groan when you have to get back up. This year, like all the others, Lindsay gives me an out. "You don't have to make the cake this year," and I always wave her off.
I do have to make the cake. I realize it's one of our few standing traditions. It means a lot to me, as much as it might to her. Because of the swirling world we've created for ourselves, I never feel like I'm as present as I'd like to be. I never feel like I can be the best husband and father and friend I need to be all the time, and I certainly never get to treat her with the romance she wants and deserves. Lindsay has, especially over the last nearly 4 years, shown incredible strength and love and this seemingly endless compassion to take care of our son, as well as me. So, yes, I do have to make this cake. I have to make it for you. Not just because you want it, and you do want it, because it's a seriously amazing piece of confectionary, but because I don't know enough other ways to show how much I appreciate you getting up in the morning, and taking care of the things you take care of, and for driving me to the hospital as I literally squealed in pain passing a kidney stone, and for telling me to go take a bike ride because I'd gotten too cranky from being stuck in front of this damnable laptop. And I can't do all the things I want to do for you, because there's not enough time, money, or sometimes even energy left. But I can make this cake.
Happy birthday, Lindsay. You are wonderful and you are my best friend. I love you and I made you this cake.
And I hope it doesn't spoil anything, but you're getting it again next year.