Birds, Birthdays, and Bubba

Birds, Birthdays, and Bubba



I signed up our family to build bluebird houses at Bear Creek Lake State Park to celebrate Bubba's birthday.

I don't know what I was thinking.

I was expected my renaissance farmer, builder, fixer husband to build a bird house from a kit which was created by high school shop students. As the fat, wet snowflakes fell outside, our houses fell to pieces inside the cozy lodge. After fiddling and drilling  and unscrewing and sighing in exasperation, Bubba put our first box together. He was a good sport about the whole thing, and the kids had fun.

Gray, especially, had been looking forward to the workshop for weeks. He couldn't wait for his chance to use a real "hammra".

Lily wasn't too impressed, though.

I asked Bubba if he'd like to go out to dinner or for me to make something. "You get to pick," I offered. "I'll make whatever, even if it's a pain in the butt."
He surprised me by choosing to eat at home.
Then he asked me to cook alfredo. That was when I realized that I was out of pasta.
Gumbo? Out of smoked sausage.
African rice?  Out of hamburger.
Haystacks? Out of hamburger and tortilla chips.

I'd just been to the grocery. Why were my cupboards suddenly so bare?

Finally, my mom, who was visiting, suggested take out chinese food from the tiny place by Food Lion.

Instead of his usual cream cheese pie or cheesecake, Bubba threw me again with a request for chocolate cake with chocolate icing. I cheated with a box cake mix, but I whipped up the chocolate icing from scratch. When I let him taste it, I demanded a stronger reaction than his first "mmm." He mused me by melodramatically declaring that it was the best icing ever. If he was right it was the best icing on the ugliest cake. (I must really learn how to frost a cake properly some time.)

I felt like I'd failed again. Maybe not failed, but just missed.

As Bubba's bumbled birthday came to a close, I realized that I was the only one who minded its flaws. The kids got to spend the whole day with their dad. Gray got to use a real hammer. Bubba got to play with the kids and watch the extended version of Dancing with Wolves that I normally refuse to watch.

When he claimed that he'd had a great birthday, I finally chose to believe him.


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