As I lounge on the couch at Luke’s apartment in Columbus listening to him quote random history facts to me that I am halfway listening to, I looked over at him just now and realized just how lucky I truly am. He is proudly sporting his birthday scruff (one of his gifts from me that he didn’t have to shave his face today!) and reading a book about George Washington on this evening of his 23rd birthday and I couldn’t think of anywhere else I would rather be at this moment and time. The urge suddenly struck me to write it down, and so here I am, updating this blog. Even though it is nearly midnight, I don’t want to go to sleep because I don’t want this day to end. There is something to be said for being young and in love and being able to visit your fiance at will at long last.
I know I haven’t updated in a while, but like I said today is Luke’s birthday. His golden birthday in fact. Turning 23 on the 23rd isn’t something one does any old day. I really wanted to make this one special for him, but driving down here yesterday, I didn’t really know how I was going to make that happen. His family had wanted to come down to visit as a surprise, but due to scheduling conflicts were unable to make it. We don’t have a ton of friends in Columbus just yet, but I learned a valuable lesson yesterday: It doesn’t matter the number of friends that you have in your life but about the quality of those friends that you do have. My mother once told me that if you have a handful of close friends in your life, you are truly blessed. And by that count, we are indeed among the blessed ones.
Yesterday, I texted Luke’s good friend and groomsman, Aristotle (Ace), and asked him if he could help me throw something together for dinner. Sure enough, he was super helpful and even went out and bought a cake to bring to Luke’s surprise dinner at the Cannon. He also brought a couple of friends to dinner that were visiting him from out of town that Luke also knew from West Point. I then texted Bill Choate, another of Luke’s groomsmen and invited him and his roommate, Ben, to come, and they gladly accepted. I didn’t want to be the only girl in a crowd of guys, so I next invited Kim Freitag, a great girl that we have hung out with a few times now while her husband is at Ranger school. She rounded out the group of 8 that came out to celebrate Luke’s birthday.(Sadly the DeCostas were out of town, but we would have loved for them to be there too!)
We truly had a blast at dinner and Luke was extremely surprised. I found myself being so grateful for the closeness of the Army community that night. It was wonderful to bring together a group of friends – both old and new- to celebrate this special time for Luke. The good thing about the Army family is that even when people inevitably leave and move on, there is always the chance you’ll run into them again down the road somewhere! We are enjoying the time we have with these great friends now, because if there is one thing the Army will teach you that’s to enjoy every moment you have been given and to cherish every single friendship that comes your way. You don’t often meet strangers in the Army, which is a blessing; And by the end of the night, we were all laughing and joking like we’d known each other for years. In fact, we were having so much fun that I eventually had to make up the excuse that I wasn’t feeling well to get Luke to leave to find the second part of his surprise for the night.
Surprise Part Dos: My maid of honor, Jess, and her boyfriend Will drove down from Auburn to surprise Luke for drinks and board game night, something that we always enjoy with them. We played Pandemic until the wee hours of the morning and had a wonderful time. He said that it was one of the best birthdays ever, and I am grateful for all of our friends that helped to make it that way for him. It was every bit as special as I’d hoped it would be, new post or not!
It was a night to remember. In terms of gifts, well that’s another story. I bought Luke tickets to see the Atlanta Braves for his birthday this year, not knowing that he gets free tickets through the military. (I am still claiming I got us better seats anyway though!) In addition to getting him something he technically already has, Luke was looking at my computer last weekend and found the email from TicketMaster, so he already knew about the Braves game. Oh well! He is still excited about his gift, I think. The only surprise I had for him then was a hardback copy of The United States Constitution with gilded pages. Yes, he was genuinely excited about this, as he is as American as apple pie. I think he has already broken open the Constitution and started reading it again (I don’t know how many times he has read through it before, but I know it is several.) I was glad to be able to surprise him with that at least.
Today, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch UNC beat North Carolina State, which was exciting! (I say the Tar Heels pulled it off just for Luke for his birthday!) Then we just hung out for the rest of the day, ate a very late dinner of leftovers, and he is currently sleeping soundly beside me. I should probably get off to bed too now, since the clock struck midnight about ten minutes ago.
I love weekends like this where everything just feels so right, and I loved being able to celebrate his birthday with him on the actual “day of” this year. It will be my last weekend in Georgia for a while because I am throwing a bridal tea for my friend Holly next weekend, so Luke will be coming to visit me, and then the following weekend is my first wedding shower in Tuscaloosa. And then, after that, I am bound for SPAIN! That trip is really creeping up on me..Less than 3 weeks and counting. I am very excited but also extremely overwhelmed with all of the prep work I still have to do before departure. All of that can wait though. For now, I am going to get some sleep and dream happy dreams of September 1, 2013.