These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

long-distance birthday greetings...and more

dawn celebrated a birthday friday. since i arrived after midnight thursday, i gave her the present then (some nice depression glass selected with help from krista). she loved it. i gave her a nice card friday night when i got home from work. we went out to eat saturday and will watch a
cool movie (zodiac) today.

but it wasn't always like this. the first birthday i celebrated with my wife was when she was still an unknown, phyysically, anyway, to me, back in 2001.

she was still in maryland and i in texas. we'd been exchanging e-mails since january and i wanted to get to know her more and had wanted her to download instant messenger for us to chat on to try and further the relationship. i was digging the girl, you know.

somehow i found out her birthday was coming up. i don't know if we told each other our birthdays or what, but it was coming up and i wanted to show i cared for her. but there were problems. i couldn't send her anything because i didn't know her mailing address.

i decided to do the next best thing (within my means) and send her an e-greetings. it was a difficult thing for me to do. i was late in getting into computers and at that time had really only been online at home for a little more than a year. i had received e-greetings but i don't think i'd ever sent one.

i found a spot on the yahoo page that had them, struggled to find the right one. i wanted something subtle and not one that advertised i'm a psycho and wants you badly or anything. i found one. then i had to make it simple. i just wrote that i remembered her birthday and wanted to wish her a good birthday. nothing elaborate or anything.

the week before i sent the card, i made a mental note to remember her birthday and send it thursday night. her birthday was on a friday. i wanted her to get home from work and read it. and so it happened that late thursday, i went through my struggles and off it went.

the following day, i was online. i wrote her an e-mail saying try and get instant messenger so we can talk in real time. i clicked send. it was gone. two seconds later, i get the familiar chimes that designate an instant message. it was from her. holy crap. she was downloading the IM stuff as i was e-mailing her about it. i had tried in the past for her to do it and she hadn't. this was going to be my last attempt.

she told me she'd gone out to eat dinner with friends from work and then come home. i thought she deserved more than that, should have someone to celebrate her birthday, and wanted to talk and try to make it a better day.

i got online with her at about 10 p.m. we talked until 4 in the morning. we learned so much about each other that night. it was wonderful. she opened up like she hadn't before, me stepping on toes and asking stuff i didn't know about (like her father, who had died a few years before). i cursed at myself for stupid things like that. i wanted our chat to go perfectly. i guess it didn't go too bad.

that's how we spent dawn's birthday that first year we began to know each other. it was unconventional but fun, intimate and personal. it was one of the best nights i've had and i'm glad i spent it with dawn that night. it was special and i have fonds memories.

we talked again online saturday night for a similar length of time. we did it again sunday morning and that's when i decided to be bold and push the slowly evolving relationship ahead. i said maybe one day we could talk on the phone some time. i said she could call me anytime and gave her my number. she then gave me hers. i took the opportunity and said maybe i could call her that night. she agreed. i called her promptly at 10:30 p.m. central time.

it was magical hearing her voice for the first time. she was shy; i was nervous. her dog, duffy, was yipping because he heard the phone ring. we talked for hours that night, too.

i'm getting ahead here, so i'll stop.
happy birthday, dawnie. it was good giving you the presents and card and a kiss in return. xx oo

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