Tuesday, April 12, 2016

If I Could Pick a Day to Live Over...

...it would be the day I turned 40.  Oh, not because something terrible went wrong that day, and I'd like the chance to go back and act differently--not at all!  Instead, I'd like to relive that day because, as far as life on this fallen globe goes, it was very nearly a perfect day!  :)

"Simple pleasures" was the mode of celebrating that day.  I'm not into big, extravagant parties, and I'm not at the stage of taking elaborate trips, so by necessity (and by choice!), turning 40 was low-key.  Just the way I like it.  :)

I started the day by taking a picture of the back of my head.
Doesn't every great birthday start this way?  ;-)
You'll see later why I wanted these pictures.  :)
My breakfast was indulgent.  :)  
Since Benjamin has been having such trouble with eczema, I have been trying to avoid dairy to see if that will help his condition.  But on my birthday, I splurged and ate some string cheese and the last remaining coffee yogurt in our frig.  I haven't had either of those in (what feels like) a very long time!  Besides that, I ate part of this pomelo and a cup of hot salted caramel tea.  Delicious!  :)
One of the things I love best in all the world right now is time with Jeff, and it was a treasured gift to have him block off some time from his work schedule so we could sneak away for a middle-of-the-day date.  My next-door neighbor watched the kids, and I headed into town to meet Jeff and then go with him to my favorite Indian restaurant to enjoy their lunch buffet.  It was so, so yummy, and it gave me a chance to try some new dishes there that I hadn't had before.  
After we ate lunch, Jeff still didn't need to be back to work yet, so he suggested that we go to our favorite local ice cream shop.  Well, if I was going to blow my no-dairy diet, I might as well blow it big, so I happily said yes.  And boy, did I enjoy every last lick of that scrumptious chocolate ice cream cone!!  :)
Eventually he needed to get back to work, and I drove home, expecting a relaxing afternoon with my kids.  What I did NOT expect was this...  :)
A knock on the door signaled a flower delivery.  My brother David had ordered flowers to be delivered to me.  When had he ever done that before???  (Ummm, I think the answer would be never.)  :)
The card wasn't particularly mushy, but it made me cry...and much more surprisingly, it touched Josiah's heart so much that he got teary, too!  He hugged me for a long time, and then we laughed as we recovered our composure.  :)
Besides the gorgeous bouquet from my brother, I was blessed by other expressions of love that afternoon.  Like a sign that Tobin drew and hung up on the door of a kitchen cabinet...
...and this love letter from Shav.
I have told him so many times through the years, "You are a treasure," and so he wrote, in this homemade card for me, "U R A" and then he drew a treasure chest.  I understood his message, loud and clear.  :)
A little later that afternoon, my neighbor--the Old Order Mennonite one--called and asked if I could take some pictures of a new design of hay wagons that her husband had just made in his welding shop.  Before he sent them on to wherever they were going, he wanted some pictures taken of them that could be used in the future to market them.  I was more than happy to help them out.
After all, being asked to do that gave me a great excuse to get outside on a beautiful day, walk up over our hill...
...and enjoy this view.  :)
I snapped a bunch of pictures of the wagons...
...and then some of my kids.  :)
It really was a gorgeous day.
I love having my birthday in the springtime!  :)
We walked back leisurely to our house and then came inside for the important task of making my birthday cake...or in this case, my birthday fruit pizza.  :)
I had lots of expert help to get the fruit placed just right.  :)
Both Tobin and Shav had wanted to each have their own pizza to decorate, but I knew Moriah wanted to help, too, so I encouraged them to let her do a little.  And to their credit, they did a great job of letting her be involved, too.  That time of peaceful interaction was another of the gifts of this birthday.  :)
Tobin had started making a design on his pizza, but kept adding more and more fruit until it became a big random pile of fruit.  That was fine with me: the more fruit, the better!  :)
Shav kept to a more-or-less orderly design...
...and even designated a spot--right in the middle--for the candle that would be placed there.  :)
My dad gave me a really special gift that afternoon when he called and said, "Would you like me to get Mom and bring her out to have supper with us?"  Oh yes, I certainly would!!  I knew that with our schedule that day, it might be a little difficult to have her out here that evening, so I didn't want to make a big deal of it; but when he offered, I was so very happy.  
It wouldn't have been the same without her sweet, loving presence!  :)
We ate a simple spaghetti supper, and the family gave me cards and gifts.  Let's see... 

There was a beautiful card from my parents, with a poem that Dad wrote for me.  A special touch was that my mother signed her name; even though her handwriting is a lot shakier than it used to be, it still means so much that she wrote "Mother" on the card.

Jeff had given me a card earlier in the day, when we were on our date.

Tobin and Shav had made homemade cards that sweetly expressed their love.

I also received lovely cards with very kind messages from several ladies, Valerie and Donna, who are older than me and have known me since I was a young girl.  They have been wonderful sources of encouragement through the years, and so they were again on this birthday.

There were three gift bags for me to open.  In one, David had placed a new cutting board for me; he had bought it with his own money.  In another was the gift that made me laugh the most: a selfie stick from Tobin!  :)  I think he, too, paid for it with his own money.  Both of those gifts were extra special because they showed that the boys had been paying attention weeks or months earlier when I had expressed that I needed a new cutting board, for example, or when I said that a selfie stick would make it easier to get all of us into a picture together!  :)  I was so grateful!

The smallest gift bag was from Shav, and in it he had placed a special shiny red stone that had been among the "treasures" he had collected through the years.  It meant so much to me that he gave it up for my sake, and I feel loved every time I look at it.

The last gift was from Josiah, and it didn't come in a gift bag!  Some time back, I had said something like, "Oh, look how green the grass is!  I always look forward each year to the greening of the grass in the spring!"  Josiah had immediately commented on the phrase "the greening of the grass," and I had half-jokingly told him he could write a poem for me for my birthday about the greening of the grass.

And so he did!  Not only did he compose it, he also wrote it out in cursive and drew a picture to illustrate each stanza; then he rolled it up and tied a white ribbon around it, handing it to me before he began a public recitation of the poem.  As soon as I saw him coming towards me with rolled-up papers with a white ribbon around them, my mind flew back through time to March of 1996 when Josiah's dad came towards me with a rolled-up-and-tied-with-a-white-ribbon letter and handed it to me, causing me to blush like crazy in the presence of the other students who were in the dining room of the school we were studying at in Jerusalem.  That's how our romance began.  :)  And now, here was our son, handing me a precious rolled-up-and-tied gift.  That did funny things to my heart, and it didn't take too long for the tears to flow.

Josiah recited his fantastic poem for me (and I'd like to do a separate blog post about that soon), and then gave me a wonderful, long hug.  I felt so proud of him!

Everyone was eager for fruit pizza by that point, so we turned our attention to that.

The big 4-0 looks pretty amazing when it arrives on two platters of fruit pizza!  :)
The family sang to me...
...and I blew out the candles...
...which wasn't a hard task since there were only two of them.  ;-)

I savored the presence of all 10 of us together.  That, in itself, is a gift that I never want to take for granted.  But eventually Dad left to take Mom back to Bridgewater, and our regular evening activities resumed.  But one more special thing was ahead...  :)

I had been talking with Jeff about the possibility of him cutting my hair.  I hadn't had a haircut for quite a while, and I was interested in trying something different.  What better day than my 40th birthday to make a change?  :)

On that day, however, I knew he was very tired from a busy week, so I told him he didn't have to do it that night; but he said he'd do it anyway.  I appreciated his sacrifice and was excited to see how my hair would be after my haircut...especially when I saw the huge pile of hair on the bathroom floor while he was cutting it!  ;-)

The next morning, when the light was better, I attempted to take some pictures of it.
Having it shorter like this gives me the opportunity to play around with it some.
I feel like I'm still experimenting with it and figuring out how I like it best.
It's fun.  :)
And now that it's shorter, I don't wear it up like I always used to, and that means Benjamin can reach up and grab it--especially while he's nursing--and he thinks that's fun, too.  :)
Another thing I should mention that added to my birthday joy was that, throughout the day, I kept getting birthday greetings from friends and family through emails and Facebook (and even a blog post by my dear friend Julie!).  I was honestly surprised by how many birthday greetings I got, and it warmed my heart each time a new greeting popped up.  I have been blessed by the kind, loving people that are in my life; and that day reminded me of what encouraging relationships I have!

When the end of the day came, one thought kept running through my brain:  "I am so loved."  I thought back over the day; and although we didn't do anything "big" to celebrate, it was filled with so many sweet moments and so many expressions of love.  I particularly thought of all my children had done to make me feel loved: the extra hugs and kisses, the handwritten love notes, the thoughtful gifts, their frequent "happy birthday" and "I love you" comments.  And I thought of Jeff and the way he loved me that day in all the five love languages, especially the large doses of Quality Time (our middle-of-the-day date) and Acts of Service (the haircut) that he poured out on me.  Proverbs 31:28 came to mind, "Her children rise up, and call her blessed.  Her husband also..."

On that day, I was free from the weariness, the discouragement, the sense of being overwhelmed that all too often plague me.  As my 40th birthday drew to a close, all I could think and all I could feel was...


And even now, days after my birthday is past, I remember the sweetness of that feeling; and I think, "I am so grateful!"

That is why, if anyone ever invents time travel and gives me the chance to return to any day in the past, I will gladly come back and relive my 40th birthday!!!  :)


sally said...

What a wonderful birthday! I'm so glad you got to set aside your normal load of work (at least a lot of it) and enjoy your day.
Your new haircut is amazing! I love your curls!

Emily said...

That sounds like a perfect day! I love your new haircut. It looks fabulous!!

Carol Slater said...

Sounds like a wonderful day! There is no way that my husband would cut my hair although I do his often. My kids are older and they rarely even remember my birthday. You are blessed and loved!