Ok everyone, you’ve probably heard this one before. Classic love story. Boy meets girl. Love. Marriage. Children. House in the burbs. Happily ever after. You know the drill. Classic fairytale.
This was no fairytale. This was my life!
I met my dearest Elizabeth years ago. We started this thing off old school. Chance meeting. Happenstance. Serendipity. We lived thousands of miles apart. Odds weren’t in our favor and so we started it the way any two old souls would. We. Wrote. Letters. Back and forth. To and fro. No talking. No FaceTime. No Zoom. No googly eyes as we passed in the hall. I mean, old school. Letters upon letters upon letters. (Ok, to be fair. We’re talking the mid 2000’s here. It wasn’t THAT old school. They were emails. But whatever. Old. School.)
Anyhow, after months and months of writing these elaborate letters, we decide to *gasp, wait for it…* actually talk on the phone. It was then that I realized a few things:
Well, fast forward a number of years. Time for children. (Did I mention that we were old souls who are old school?) We weren’t like the new age families with a couple of kids and a dog. Heck no. Where’s the fun in that? Nah. We’ve got four kids. Each with their own identity. Their own zeal for life. Four distinctly unique personalities bonded by the common love and admiration for their mother. Oh, and a healthy dose of fear anytime they don’t listen. As for the dogs, we couldn’t go with one ordinary dog. No. No. No. We need TWO massive dogs that look like Falkor from the Neverending Story. Pooper scooper be darned. Get me a 10 gallon hat and Hefty bag and I keep up just fine.
So…back to the fairytale. Here we are living the dream. Bubbly wife. Houseful of kids. Dog slobber everywhere. Closed captioning fixed on the TV to cover the crowd noise. Restaurants shuttering their doors anytime they see our crew coming. I mean, when I say that we are living the dream…I mean that we are LIVING THE DREAM.
Well, it’s at this point that I begin to see the cracks in the foundation. The canary is in the coalmine folks. And that canary was none other than … … … birthday parties. Suddenly it hits me. We are no longer both old souls! I mean, I still am. My idea of a great birthday party is pin the tail on the donkey, cake from a box, one out of tune song, and heavily diluted punch. I mean, what more could a kid need?
Wrong. See, here’s the rule in our house. If my wife wants it, well, she gets it. If I want something, I get it too…provided it’s what my wife really wanted all along.
Well, thanks to my wife’s newfound inner boujee, we started throwing these parties that were so fancy, so elaborate, that they could have made a lobster blush. The only catch (c’mon, I have to win at something right!?) was that I knew how to hide the credit cards. These things had to be done on a budget. And credit to my wife, she found a way! Suddenly, every birthday, every holiday, every event in our house was CELEBRATED!!!! We were the talk of the town. Neighbors came out of the woodwork. We were running Prince Ali’s parties on Aladdin’s budget!
And so you thought we were living the dream before!? Now we were really living large. Everyone wants my wife to throw a custom party just for them! And my wife – you know, sparkly and effervescent as long as she’s been fed and gymnastics isn’t on – she’s happy to oblige. Suddenly, so many people are making requests that our circle of friends is growing faster than my waistline (hey, the party food is good!!!)
Now we really have it all!!! Family. Community. Happiness. Joy. Increased inspiration to join a gym. How could life get any better!?!?!?!!!!!!
And then…it happened…
“Hey honey, so many people love these parties. We can give the gift of celebration without breaking the bank. What if we turn this into a business???”
Ugh. Sirens blaring. Torpedoes in the water. Prepare ships for ludicrous speed. And boom goes the dynamite.
Have I mentioned that my wife always gets her way?
Destined to share her love of celebration and joy to the masses. She formed a place where people around the world can order a kit, follow the instructions, put in a little elbow grease and voila! Happiness for all! Sort of like if highfalutin parties and Ikea had a baby. (If only my wife found a way to recreate the meatballs. Correction, she’s looking over my shoulder. It seems one of their kits DOES have meatballs!!!)
And then, things really got weird.
My dearest wife. My entire world. The person for whom the dawn rises upon and the sun sets. That one, darling unique soul for whom the song “Only You” was written. Well, she met someone else JUST LIKE HER. Enter Whitney. Exit my sanity. MIND. BLOWN.
How can there be two!? I mean, another!?!? This can’t be!!!! And yet, it was. Not only does Whitney share my wife’s passion for pizzazz, she too is a descendent of a grandmother once named…wait for it…Elizabeth. And both elder matrons went by “Betti.” My dearest wife. My unique Elizabeth turned Liz stumbled on another soulmate (Hey! I thought I was special!?) and together they became “The Betti’s.” Transformation complete.
I skulked off to the garage.
At least Whitney has a husband just like me. Exactly the same. Other than the part about him being wicked smart and saving lives all day. Oh, and he can hit a golf ball straight.
Pray for Joe. He married a Betti too.
Together we commiserate how our life came to be. Our once darling romances, our burgeoning blossoming families now hidden behind orders to fill and boxes to ship. Packages of party power delivered right to your door.
As for me, well, my Betti is a long way from the Elizabeth I once met through an internet connection and a keyboard. How ironic that the rest of the world shares her labor of love behind that very same screen. And my package of paradise? There’s nothing better for me that watching Elizabeth *cough* Liz *cough* one of the Betti’s pursue her passion towards bringing a smile to the world around her. After all, her glow is so bright, it deserves to be shared.
Unless of course, the Betti’s style of smiles isn’t for you. In that case, send me a letter the old school way. I have a stale cake and punch mix with your name on it.
- Mr. Betti
PS- Look for the next installment from the other Mr. Betti. When he’s not busy of course, you know, saving lives.
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