Putting the Whimsical Back into Birthdays

“Where would you like to order for your birthday?” I asked my loving husband a week before he was to turn forty-five.

“As in takeout,” he sighed.

The two of us had plans for one of his favourite, but not quite so elegant, dinners. We had created a shopping list of ingredients and “must haves” for a DIY Nacho Bar on our kitchen breakfast bar, down to the chopped green onions and avocados for homemade guac. But that was only one meal and I was looking for help in rounding out the eats for my other half’s special day.

“Can we just leave it open? See what the day brings?” He asked. Without actually saying it, I knew what my husband really wanted for his birthday.

He wasn’t looking for something special to eat or the ability to travel. He wasn’t looking for a present or card. He was looking for the impulse . . . the whim. He was looking to be able to inject a bit of unprepared, unplanned and unorganized frivolity into his birthday.

No. It was a bit bigger than that. He was looking to do it for the first time since his last birthday.

I don’t blame him.

I create weekly meal plans and submit our lists online for pick-up at the local IGA. I order our Friday Night Beers online and pick-up at the liquor store. Date night is a movie from CRAVE or one we have recorded off the cable Hollywood Suites. Everything is prepared, planned and organized.

In short, there are no surprises. No whims. No impulse trips. No packing up the car and hitting the open road. No unexpected.

“Sounds like a plan,” I responded to his request. Well, a plan that isn’t a plan.

While the ingredients for the nacho bar have been submitted for pick-up and I already ordered his favourite IPA, I am leaving our lunch meal empty. Open. For whatever the day brings. Surprise us.

Surprisingly, just doing that, has given us both something to look forward too. The anticipation of the whimsical has put the whimsical back into the birthday. For both of us.

We all need whims. Something for both of us to remember long after he blows out the candle on his specially ordered, planned and prepared (but still utterly fantastic) birthday cake.

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