April 13, 1972.
I have a terrible memory, especially with birthdays, but this is a date my brain seems to remember for some reason. Like, actually, though.
For example, when I’m on the phone with a credit card company or a bank or something, and they ask me my husband’s birth date, my response is usually, “Well, my ex-husband’s birth date is 4/13/72.” Which, naturally, is super awkward…especially, when they’re sitting there on the other end of the line in silence. I mean, it’s at least a little bit funny. Because then I launch into my nervous habit place where I start trying to make it not so awkward by explaining that response.
“No, it’s OK. We‘re both remarried and super happy and we all get along great. So, it’s not weird that I remember his birthday. I just have a bad memory and have trouble remembering my current husband’s birth date, even though it’s arguably an easier date because it’s the first of a month. March 1st. But, his birth year is actually a year behind mine, even though he’s only 6 months younger…which is funny because I usually think of him being older and more mature than me…which is just code for “smarter” than me…but, my Dad and my neighbor, Desi, both get really frustrated with me when I make comments about how not smart I am…which is obviously a not-smart way of saying ‘not that smart’. Anyways, my current husband’s birth date is March 1, 1977. I think. Because I was born in 1976. And, that is one birthday I know for sure.”
And, then they basically give me whatever it is I’m asking for, like a higher credit limit or something. I’m not even trying to confuse them into doing what I want. It’s just the universe working in my favor. For being so not smart.
Anyway, Alex’s birthday is today. Not Ben’s. Wow. That just happened. Like, for real.
I do need to admit something here: Alex is, and always will be, one of the very best things that’s ever happened in my life. Alex is one of the first people to ever show me what it really, truly means to make someone feel cared for. You know, in that way that when you’re talking to him you feel like you and what is going on in your life at that very moment is the most important thing in his life, too. Like, you’re not alone in whatever it is you’re dealing with or struggling with or trying to figure out. Like you are welcome in his life, his door is wide open; no knocking, no ringing a doorbell necessary. Just walk up, open the door, walk right in unannounced, and know that you are safe and no matter how hard you just got hit…he’s with you.
His entire family is like that, which is a big deal because he’s the oldest of 6 kids. And, when you’ve got 6 kids and a set of parents all embracing and living out that sort of mindset for all the world to feel in their presence…that’s the sort of thing that changes people, and changes humanity in ways you can’t even dream of.
Alex and I separated 14 years ago, and he’s still got it. He still is this for me, for Ben, for our friends, and obviously everyone in his own life. And, his family is still this for me, as well. It’s amazing. And, I couldn’t feel more blessed and grateful to have had him show me that that mentality exists, teach me how to feel that love and support for other people, and prove year after year that no matter what goes on between the two of us, he will always be there for me. No matter where our individual lives take us, I know he…and, his wife, Liza, are there with me.
And, that, my friends, is maybe why I remember his birthday, today, so clearly. Because he’s the friend that has just never left me, no matter what.
Thank you for your commitment to service, thank you for your selflessness, and than you for letting us all know we never have to be alone. I think you are wonderful and I hope you know how much you have changed all of us, and changed the universe by just being who you are.
Happy birthday, Alex.