I hummed softly as I put the finishing touches on the cake. It was chocolate, Carter’s favorite. In just a few hours, the house would be full with guests to celebrate his birthday. Today, my wonderful husband was thirty. I smiled fondly, remembering when I was thirty. I’d been pregnant with Joshua then. It amazed me how time had flown.
“Something smells amazing,” Carter said as he came into the kitchen.
I smiled up at him. “Your cake. And don’t get any ideas about that frosting! No getting into the cake until the party.”
He chuckled and kissed me. “Yes, darling.” He leaned back to look at me. “Haddie, you changed your hair.”
I reached up to fuss with it. “Does it look silly? I was out with Nora getting our hair cut today, and she somehow convinced me to try this.” It was also supposed to make me look younger. I wasn’t so sure that it did, but I did sort of like it.
He smiled. “It looks beautiful.”
I smiled up at him, relieved. “You really think so?” I’d always been more the type to just throw on a headband and get on with my day, but this really wasn’t so much more effort.
He kissed me again. “I do.”
“Mom!” Nora cried from her room. “I can’t find my purple shoes!”
“A mother’s work is never done.” I moved away towards Nora’s room, but not before throwing over my shoulder, “And don’t you touch that cake!”
“Happy Birthday dear Carter, happy Birthday to you,” the group of us sang around the table. I smiled and waved at Carter to blow out the candles.
He leaned in and blew them out. Highlighted in the candlelight, I noticed now the way the laugh-lines were taking up residence around his mouth.
After we passed out the cake, I pulled him into the living room to sit down. “So, how does it feel to be the big three-oh?”
“The exact same as twenty-nine.” He smiled and pulled me into his arms. “Have I mentioned today how much I love you?”
I leaned my head against his. “I love you too, Carter. Sometimes…sometimes it breaks my heart how much I love you because we’ve really been cheated. We’ll have so much less time together than we should.” He opened his mouth, no doubt to tell me to stop being maudlin, but I put a finger over his lips. “But I am so grateful for the time we do have.”
He hugged me tight. “Neither one of us is dying anytime soon, Haddie. And, who knows? You’re in good health. You might go and outlive us all.”
I snorted softly. “I doubt that.”
“Hey,” Shirley said as she came over, “no hogging the birthday boy. Both of you go and mingle.”
I rolled my eyes at her. “You’re so bossy.”
She grinned. “That’s what happens when you boss people around all day.” She pulled Carter into a hug. “Welcome to middle age, Carter. Enjoy the wrinkles and the grey hairs.”
“Funny,” I said, “I don’t see any greys on your head.”
Camille came over and slid her arm around her wife’s waist. “Because we are firm believers in dye jobs.”
“Hey, you’re not purple anymore.” I looked up at Carter. “Are we out of the loop?”
Camille laughed softly. “I just had it bleached a couple of days ago. I decided I missed being blond.”
“Well, it looks good. I better go put the cake up.” I excused myself and went into the kitchen. I put away the remains of the cake and listened to the conversations going on around me. I was very lucky to have the life I did.