On December 16, 1987 I had reached a milestone: I was only one year shy of having completed three decades of living. Now thirty-one should be the true milestone, the three decades being fully accounted for, but we humans make a big deal of the birthdays that end in a zero. That year was my BIG 3-0.
Perhaps it was a true milestone for me because we had also completed our family. We had long decided that we wanted two children. Wesley was just over 2½; Andy was just 2 months, 2 days old.
The four of us celebrated my 30th at a renowned restaurant: Pizza Hut on Robinhood Road. I probably let Wesley decide where we would eat as I’m sure I would have chosen something a bit more appetizing. And Blaine’s lactose intolerance wasn’t manifest yet, so he may have had something to do with the choice as well. Andy didn’t care; he just wanted to be dry, warm, and breast-fed.
I remember what I wore that night, still struggling to peel off the maternity clothes after having gained forty-seven pounds during my second pregnancy. Lugging what I was convinced would be a girl, Andy was all boy and our big-boned baby, weighing in at 8lbs, 14oz. when my “Little Pumpkin” came rolling out. Oh, if it had only been that easy; I was not big-boned.
I remember vaguely where we sat that night in Pizza Hut. For certain, I remember my present: a $100 Shop of the Ragpicker gift certificate. An exclusive little boutique that just happened to be located caddie-cornered across the street within a row of mostly over-priced shops, Blaine always referred to it as the Shop of the Pocket-Picker.
I remember being happy.
This morning, as I lay in bed long before the sun rose behind the shroud of gray clouds, I began reflecting on today’s date, October 14, 2017. Andy would have reached this same milestone today; he would have turned thirty.
Wes and Andy’s birthdays have now come-and-gone without them for sixteen years. Each time we pass one we do our best to make the day without them a worthy one. Worthy of Wes’ sixteen years ten months, thirteen days. Worthy of Andy’s fourteen years, five months, fifteen days. Every year is a milestone.
Today we find a way to honor Andy. Perhaps we will dine out tonight at Pizza Hut on Robinhood Road.