Happy Birthday, Darling Husband

In a month where my Facebook feed is filled with friends and family sharing what they’re thankful for, I get to celebrate one of my greatest blessings: the birth of my husband (on November 21).

Much the way our youngest son’s birthday (on Epiphany) gets wrapped up in the tail end of Christmas celebrations, my husband’s special day always falls near Thanksgiving. So our little family of four marks the day with his favorite cookies (oatmeal, with dried cherries or blueberries and chocolate chips) and something special for dinner, but saves the real celebration until we gather with my family in southern Illinois for turkey day.

In the days leading up to this birthday, my darling spouse was his usual restless self. The idea of aging has never appealed to him and often dredges up baggage he’d prefer to leave unpacked. But this year, his desire to stave off the turning of the hour glass manifested in a weekend’s worth of purging our attic and closets. At one point, he actually hauled one of our rolling trash bins into the house and set it at the base of the attic stairs, so he could hurl large objects from our attic directly into the trash.

I’ll admit, I could not control myself and rescued a few of the items he tried throwing away, but placed them directly in the back of our van so I could take them to the Creative Reuse Center, the recycling center or Goodwill, instead of bringing them back inside. I was surprised at how much he was willing to get rid of and fought my inner possibilitarian as best I could, because I recognized what he’s feeling. There is a time to keep and a time to let go. A time to recognize your potential and a time to recognize your limits.

And while my other half spent his month looking at the big picture, I spent mine chipping away at some of the smaller things. Case in point: I decided to use up the last of my broken crayons (knowing as long as I work with schools and school-age children, there will always be more), and made some fall-themed upcycled crayons, using a silicone leaf mold.

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I shared these with a few friends and set the rest out as gifts for folks visiting the Arts Center this week, along with a simple printable placemat, to be used at Thanksgiving (or anytime, really).

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I also managed to use up almost all of my paper scraps during a four-week upcycling project with 187 fourth and fifth graders. Unlike the broken crayons, my dwindling supply of pretty paper scraps made me a little nervous. But, not 24 hours after sorting through the craftermath of that project, it’s already been replenished.

A friend and regular donor (to both my barn and upcycling classes), sent me a box of scrapbooking materials, with the promise of more, as she cleans out and packs up, following her mother’s death last month. Receiving things in this kind of situation always inspires me to make the most of every piece – knowing someone held onto them because of the potential they saw, and someone else shared them with me so that potential wouldn’t be lost.

My birthday boy is the glass-is-half-empty to my glass-is-half-full, and would be the first to tell you his greatest potential is behind him. But, all I see are his beautiful bits and pieces, entrusted to me, because someone, somewhere knew I would not let that potential be lost.

Happy birthday, darling husband. You are what fills my glass!

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