as i had just spent the past few days remembering with matthew, i woke up to the day i turn another year older. 30. it just so happened to be. though for so long i've dreaded turning 30, i have realized that these years just get better. they get richer and fuller. that time moves so fast and savoring up as much as i can is so worth it. so worth it.
i had breakfast with my mom which was such a special treat in and of itself. really, birthdays are big for moms. and now that i am one, i totally get it. we talked over biscuits and honey about all the things i had been remembering along with the things she remembers about my life. and i was just so thankful God made her my mother. she has loved me fierce these 30 years. and she will never stop. her love doesn't always flow from her mouth as much as it does her actions but that morning i heard it, felt it, and breathed it in.
we returned home after a very strange junk yard experience that we laughed the whole way through. but i think we were both a little freaked out by what we encountered.
matthew called and asked that i make it home before the boys' naps so they could give me a gift. we pulled in to the driveway and the garage doors were closed. matthew was holding my camera. clearly something was hidden inside. a new car? no thanks. what i received was a thousand times better.
as the garage door opened and i saw what was inside, i had no idea what was going on. the first thing i saw, though buried under everything else, was a table. it could have only been hand crafted by my dad. and the tears came. that in itself was enough. a table made by my father for our family to gather around time after time. to celebrate, to gather with others, to play games, to talk. it's a centerpiece and it's made by my dad. it will be passed down generations. it is perfect and has more than a perfect spot in our new home.
after i saw that, i processed everything else that i saw, a table full of gifts from friends. and just as i had remembered all of these people in some way or another, here was a table full of precious thoughts from them. this was an incredible gift. and it just kept getting better.
i spent the afternoon opening each very thoughtful gift and thanking God for each of those people that He had put in my path. each came with a note. i read words that were so meaningful to me and encouraged me deep down in my soul.
my mom made something very special for me as well. she made me an apron out of my old dresses she had sewed for me as a little girl. it is a treasure. i remember vividly learning alongside my mom to cook. i would sit at the counter and watch her make meals and treats for our family. and when i was big enough, she let me do it. she stayed right beside me the whole time and helped me along the way. i love to cook because of her.
i was a tad bewildered how all of these people knew to do this when matthew informed me that 100 days before my birthday he sent an email out to lots of friends. to which i responded "you really asked people to give me gifts?!! that was bold!" he is some kind of awesome man.
i knew we had dinner plans at my most favorite mexican restaurant. little did i know there was a room full of family there to surprise me and eat birthday dinner and cake with me. party time!
i'm not sure i can express in words what a special birthday this was. not for the gifts or the activity itself, but for all of the intention. for realizing the things that have really shaped the years of my life. for remembering how the Lord has used so many people to mold and love and encourage and push me. For the ways He only could have loved me these 30 years.