"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.
My breakfast was indulgent. :)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.
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... :)
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 then some of my kids. :)
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. :)
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.
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.
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.
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. :)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...
...I AM SO LOVED.
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!!! :)