Happy Birthday. I hope this email finds you well, happy, and still 39. But probably it won't because I'm sending it rather late (the 39 part that is). Actually, I just hope it finds you at all today. I remember when your sister Paula turned 40 and had some shin-dig in Provo. I seem to recall that we didn't go because the restaurant was too pricey. It seemed like we would never have to worry about turning 40. That was many years ago and now, you are 40. I also remember when my mom turned 40. I remember wondering why it was such a big deal (I was 11 years old). I think I get it a little better now. She was mourning the loss of her youth and her entry into the ranks of the elderly (just kidding . . . I know I'm next). Anyway, I want you to know how much I miss you and wish I could be there to throw you a big birthday bash. Will it mean as much if I throw you a 41 year old bash? Maybe not but I can still try. I hope you know how much I love and appreciate you. I wish I was there to buy you a cake from the store (you wouldn't want me to make one.) I wish I could buy really expensive maple syrup and really thick bread and make you the best french toast you ever had (since the last time I made you french toast). Maybe I'd even branch out and figure something new to make you for breakfast. Anyway, whatever it was it'd be with you still in bed, barely conscious and in a happy dream-like state. I'd then bring you presents. I'd let the kids bounce on the bed (after you finished your fresh-squeezed OJ) and we'd all be just as happy as could be. Then one of the kids would "accidentally" poke another in the eye and then that kid would accidentally pinch the eye-poker in the bottom. Then within 30 seconds it would all turn into a big melee and I'd be yelling "GET OFF THE BED. I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'D POKE YOUR BROTHER IN THE EYE ON YOUR MOTHER'S BIRTHDAY." Then, in a final desperate move to save the day, I'd play "There is Beauty All Around" loudly for all to hear. Later on, I'd say that I had a headache and needed to go lay down. Maybe I would have a headache, but it would also be part of a larger plan. I would have called all your friends in and asked them to arrive simultaneously at our house at 7pm. We would have all synchronized our watches for maximum shock and awe. While you were outside picking up Drew's socks off the back lawn, we'd all sneak in the house and secret ourselves in hiding. Then, right as you were walking upstairs from the laundry room, we'd jump out and yell something like, oh I don't know . . . "SURPRISE!!! HAPPY 40th". But you wouldn't hear it because you forgot to put your hearing aid back in after tuning the kids out earlier in the morning. So instead, Eliza would sign "Happy Birthday - go get your hearing aid". And then we'd all jump around and hug you and laugh and eat the cake I bought from Shopper's. Then we'd leave all the kids (20 -25 or so) at our house and the adults would escape to a really nice restaurant like Outback Steakhouse or Chili's (because it's closer) for a civilized repast and refined conversation. Then, just as we finished our desert, the police would arrive at the restaurant and kindly inform us that we were all under arrest for mass child neglect. And Viaola (?sp), just like that you'd have a police rap by the age of 40. Then, after being bailed out from the clink, I'd take you home and treat you like a woman ;) I'd let you watch project runway or dancing with the stars and pretend to be interested just so I could occupy the place by your side. If you wanted, I'd get you a sugar cookie with extra frosting and a tall glass of milk with ice. We'd throw caution to the wind and share a pint of Ben & Jerry's Wavy Gravy (I know, they don't make it anymore, but just pretend). I'd rub your aching feet and tell you how nice your toes look. I hold your hand and we'd remember at the same time how you once told me "I think you'll find that I can't do this very long" referring to interdigitation. But we wouldn't care - we'd go right on interdigitating. I'd whisper in your ear something sweet and make you laugh. Then you'd whisper something back and make me blush.
Thank you Kelly, for being my friend, my wife, my companion, my help-meet, my support, my peeps, my hope, the mother of our children, my plucky. I love you for all these things and more. I again declare how much I love and adore you. I think about you and yearn for your continued welfare and happiness. I wish I could be there standing by your side.
Happy Birthday Kelly.
I Love you.