Happy Birthday to Me
(The following story is the unedited version I typed on my new/old typewriter a few days ago. Enjoy— mistakes and all!)
I arrived home after six days away with the kids to a husband who was overjoyed to see us all.
“Never again,” he said. “It’s too lonely with you all gone for so many days in a row.”
It was 4 days before my 38th birthday. He usually forgets about that and hardly ever gets me gifts for any reason. He’s more of a words of affirmation kind of guy. It’s okay, really. I’m not a big gifts person myself.
But it IS kinda fun when they DO arrive. 🙂
And on this evening, Saturday night, 4 days before my birthday, there were homemade cards, a “Happy Birthday” banner, balloons, and a big fat black something-or-other awaiting me when I walked through the door. I read the cards. “A gift for my Love” was taped to the black something-or-other. Another one had a bunch of red hearts drawn on it with the words “I love love love love you.” And the other said “I trust, adore, am committed to, believe in, like, love YOU.”
After the kids and I each bathed off the recycled airplane air and put on our PJs, he gathered us all in the living room and told us he had “something special to give Mommy.” He told us how he had searched and researched all over trying to find the perfect gift for me. He said he really wanted me to know how much he loved me and supported me and believed in me. Then he walked us over to the dining room table and took the “A gift for my Love” sign off the big black something-or-other. He pushed the tiny silver button on the locking mechanism and showed me the key that was attached, letting me know I could lock it if I wanted to. He smiled mischievously at me and then opened up the black box.
It was an old fashioned typewriter! A 1947 Royal Quiet De Luxe, to be exact. As soon as he opened its case, I got a whiff of that old, familiar smell of metal and typewriter ribbon. I immediately had a flashback to typing up a research project my freshman year of high school. I recalled being frustrated when I got 3/4 of the way down a page and then realized I had made a huge formatting mistake and would have to retype the entire thing all over.
As soon as I saw those round black keys and those metal hammers which contained all the letters of the alphabet, I felt a thrill rise through my spine. I had never even considered getting myself an old typewriter before. I wondered if it worked or if it was just for decoration. That was when I realized there was a piece of paper with a typed up letter to me inside, wrapped around the cylinder:
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY,” it read. “God has put a gift and a desire in you to share and communicate with passion, empathy, and authenticity… I believe in you. I am behind you. I will invest in you… You are beautiful in every way…”
Well. That is quite an affirming letter. And quite a special gift!
And: the typewriter actually works!!!
I immediately put in a fresh new sheet of paper and loaded it up, getting the paper in position for whatever I wanted to hammer out. “Hello i love you very much” is what poured out of me.
Feeling the clanging under my fingers and watching the letters show up one by one on that crisp white paper stirred up a fulfillment inside myself I wasn’t expecting. Hearing the bang-clang-clank of each letter’s hammer incited my imagination in a fresh new way. I wanted to write a poem, something I haven’t done in many years.
This gift. This beautiful, refurbished old typewriter born just after World War II ended, 31 years before I was even born— it is such a treasure. The device itself astounds me and evokes a genre of creativity I’ve not experienced before. And the heart and spirit with which it was given: absolutely priceless.
Thank you, honey, for thinking of me. Thank you for affirming me and believing in me and investing in me. That is the greatest gift of all. What a special treasure this is— a real life physical reminder to me of your generosity and love for me. It means the world, honey. Truly. I love you so much.
The next morning when I awoke, this is what I wrote:
[This is Day 5 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. This year my focus is on the role of STORY in our lives. Click here to get to the landing page with links to each post for this series.]
* * *
What about you?
Have you ever received a gift that spoke volumes to you about how much the giver loves you?
Please share your story in the comment section below.