In less than thirty hot, dusty days our Air Force son will return to the states after his six-month deployment in the Middle East. Yep … his happy reunion with our daughter-in-law is finally in sight. His parents will have to wait until later this year to hug on him.
So far Ricky and Kate have missed spending together Turkey Day, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and next week, the anniversary of his birth. Which reminds me … I’ll never forget the size of his ginormous feet the day he was born. Seriously thought I’d birthed a Great Dane puppy … a very cute Great Dane puppy.
My husband and I FaceTime (Apple’s version of Skype) with Ricky every Sunday around the breakfast table before heading to church. It was during our lively chat about what Ricky will not miss … flies, sand and yucky-tasting chicken patties … that we changed the subject to his birthday. I’d already mailed his birthday package a few days before and learned I might be in trouble.
“Do you guys celebrate birthdays at the base?” I asked.
Of course, I totally knew there would be no Chuck E. Cheese or Ronald McDonald handing out slices of iced birthday cake. Those days are long gone … but not forgotten.
“Oh no … that is something you wanna keep secret. Around Christmas somebody found out one of the guys was having a birthday. You should see the picture of him tied to the basketball pole with Christmas lights,” Ricky laughed.
And the Christmas lights … they were turned on.
I didn’t tell him at the time … but maybe Ricky should be alone in his room when he opens his “birthday in a box” from his parents. Just saying.