Accio Jacksons!

An 11-inch holly blog with a phoenix feather core

A Keeper of a Guy

by Rebecca on 2009-03-20

Tuesday was Williamʼs 27th birthday. It was a quiet but happy celebration. We had Key lime cheesecake with friends, and he received a red long sleeved t-shirt and a purple oxford cloth button down shirt from yours truly. He looks pretty hot in both shirts. Thanks to all of you for the cards and phone calls, and for those of you who simply forgot, birthday celebrations in our house extend all week. So, not too late.

This was the third William birthday that Iʼve celebrated. I thought itʼd be fun to share a story from the first birthday that we celebrated together. We started dating in the middle of February 2007. His birthday was just a mere month later. In a moment of uncharacteristic boldness, I offered to take him to Waco for his birthday so that he could spend the day with his family. (He didnʼt have a car then.)

Seriously, what was I thinking? First of all, weʼd been “dating” for two weeks; we hadnʼt even had A Weʼre Together Talk yet. (But when we did, boy, was it short. A short story for another day, I suppose.) Second of all, what if we broke up between the offer and the actual birthday? Would I rescind the offer and let him have a terrible birthday alone as punishment (OK, really, Iʼm not that catty), or just go along as a friend that offered him a 2-hour ride and then had to spend an awkward day with his family? Third of all, what kind of girl dares to meet the family of a guy when theyʼve been dating for such a short period of time? It wouldʼve been one thing if his parents had been in town for, say, a choir concert and casually invited me to dinner with them afterwards, but I was going 2 Hours Out of My Way to their house! What would they think? Curiosity? Disapproval of such a bold woman? Annoyance at an outsider who was crashing a family birthday party?

That was the mental debate I had between when I said, “Can I take you to Waco for your birthday?” and William responded, “I accept your offer.” Whew.

Fortunately for my plans, we did not break up, which then left me in the position of trying to find a birthday present for someone that Iʼd been dating for 3 weeks. Again, stress. A card would be too little, but I didnʼt want to go all out and buy a watch or something fancy like that. In this situation, the gym came to the rescue. There was a guy at my gym who always wore a t-shirt that said, “Iʼm a keeper” and I thought it was the greatest shirt ever (even if the guy himself didnʼt really look like a keeper.) So, I ordered an “Iʼm a keeper” t-shirt from Amazon, thinking that it was very clever, it sounded vaguely British (if you like English football) and it was just enough of a present to say “I want you to have a happy birthday” as opposed to “I spent so much money and effort on this present that you are now pretty much obligated to marry me.”

The birthday came. The “Iʼm a keeper” was wrapped up in a festive little box with a ribbon and a card, and I put it in the back seat of the car. We talked for most of the drive up. Along the way, we saw a billboard for Dr. Pepper and started talking about the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco. Iʼd never been, so William said that we should put that on the List of Things to Do. I think he actually had one at that time.

And then he said, “You know what we should do? We should go the Dr. Pepper Museum and get a t-shirt that says ‘Iʼm a Pepper’ and change the letters on it to say ‘Iʼm a keeper.’” I am not kidding. He said that. I almost lost it and threw his package into his lap and said, “Oh, you must open your present right now, even though you are driving down the highway at 70 miles per hour!” But I didnʼt. I just laughed awkwardly and thought to myself, “He knows what I got him. How did he find out?”

We made it to Waco without further incident. We ate lasagna and cake. We sang the Jackson Family birthday song, which I still donʼt know because it has way too many verses. And then we opened cards and presents. He eyed my package suspiciously, shook it, negotiated the curling ribbons binding it tightly, unpeeled the wrapping paper and tissue paper, and realized that his birthday present was a blue t-shirt. He turned it around and read the front: “IʼM A KEEPER.” And then he started laughing as hard as Iʼve ever seen him laugh. Laughed so hard that his mother had a look of slight concern on her face. And then he jumped up and gave me a really big hug. (Now, really, do you think that he was going to kiss me for the first time in front of his parents? Awkward.)

I said, “How on earth did you know what I got you? You were talking about this shirt in the car!” He said, “I didnʼt! I was just making conversation!” And then he had to make up some story for his parents about how Iʼd gotten them the shirt because he had played keeper on a Quidditch team (not kidding about that one) instead of because I had every intention of keeping him forever.

And as it turns out, I did end up keeping him forever, t-shirt and all.