Birthday Breakfast--a long tradition!
I honestly do not deserve the sweet friends I have or the beloved children and husband I possess. So many of you wished me well, sent cards, left comments, facebook messages, lovely flowers and gifts and I feel so deeply grateful for each of you. But the story of my day is a sweet answer to the desires of my heart to not be alone but to have my sweet ones home to remember all that God has done in the last 60 years.
Don't neglect to celebrate!
A number of years ago, when I was far from my mom on mother's day, I called her to wish her happy day. She said, "Your flowers are pretty, but I would much rather have you. I think Daddy and I should have communicated more to you kids about how much we want to be with you to celebrate special times. I am lonely for my children."
Somehow that stuck in the back of my mind because since my birthday is in August, the past few years, most of my children have been at school, conferences, summer programs--but not home. It also happened that we have been out of town most Mother's Day weekends in the past few years speaking at conferences, and so there were times when I would feel the emptiness of not having my best friends, my children, be with me to celebrate.
As a child my father would mantra, "Please don't give me anything for (Christmas or birthday) but your love and respect!" And so gift-giving was underplayed at times. And it back-fired a bit for my mama.
As a mama, I have poured out my life daily with cooking, cleaning, training, educating, taking to lessons and so much more. So there are those little feelings inside me that whispered, once in a while, I want my children with me and I would love most to celebrate the occasion of this 60th birthday with them and Clay--and get to "feel" their love face to face.
So, I planned my own happy celebration. I flew all of the kids home (my birthday present to myself) and planned fun and sweet memories and feasting every day they were home.
But the lovely surprise came to me when they all bent over backwards to create fun, blessing, thoughtfulness in extravagant ways that I wasn't expecting. And so, my plan to bring them home to have fun together ended up blessing me more than I could have imagined!
Saturday morning began with Joy saying, "Mama, we have some wonderful morning snacks and a steaming cup of tea waiting for you in your study where you can open all of the cards and gifts from your sweet friends. We are all working on breakfast and your first presents, so enjoy and be patient! " and she closed the doors so I couldn't peek!
My library study with tea and presents!
She made sure to take me to my favorite room and create a relaxing start to my birthday. All of the kids took time to come in alone to sit and chat with me while I waited. I felt like a little girl all awash with anticipation of mysteries to be revealed. Breakfast was one of my favorite: Polish eggs (scrambled eggs with onions, turkey bacon, hash-browns and lots of cheese and sour cream) and with sides of , hash browns, decadent almond, cream cheese, and chocolate croissants from a favorite French bakery. Joel even made me a cappuccino on my new birthday present I had always wanted--a cappuccino maker!
The traditional birthday picture with everyone gathering around before we sit to eat--leading the birthday person in to spy the table!
(Poor Clay is almost always taking pics and so is not in them!)
LIttle did I know, the kids and Clay had all sorts of fun surprises up their sleeves. They wanted to find a way to spoil me all day long, and make me feel truly special. "Mom, you will receive 5 cycles of gifts throughout the day to properly appreciate your real personality."
C.S. Lewis books, a James Avery cross necklace, charms to keep in my pocket to remind me to take joy each minute, and Elizabeth Gouge trilogy of spiritual books A: artistic
An English movie, a music play list, the lovliest of prints to represent so much of what I love--books, mamas and blue!
a beautiful journal and all sorts of goodies
more books, trinkets for the house Y: yowza, yay (AKA-fun gifts!)
totally little things I loved--a double pen for underlining and using on my ipad, a scarf, a travel bag and more
I was surprised each two hours with memories, earrings, a beautiful scarf, more books, a beautiful journal with a bird painting--one of my fav's, and a lovely memory book, filled with well wishes, notes and blessings from so many friends that sweet Rachael, my daughter-in-law to be, had collected.
Words can not describe how truly grateful I am for the children and husband that God has given me. I keep telling everyone that I wish I could turn 60 all over again! This wonderful day of incredible memories ended with dear friends and family gathering for delicious, decadent chocolate cake at my home. It would have been amazing simply to have loved ones with me, but each person took the time to pray for me and share one of their favorite memories with me.
My family put in so much effort to spend this day making me feel appreciated, loved, and cared for. This year has been especially busy, hectic, and full of transition. With Joy going back to Biola today, Nathan getting engaged and bringing lovely Rachael home before they film their movie, Joel moving to Los Angeles a few months ago and composing and working 35 hour weeks at Apple, and Sarah preparing to leave for Wheaton after being away all summer, it seems there is always something new arising in our family. After so many years of ministry and hard work, it meant so much to have a day of restoration--and to manage to have all of them at home.
I am so very grateful for each and every person who took the time to spoil me and make this birthday truly unforgettable.
What has been your favorite birthday?