Jeremy turned the big 4-0 last week. It's so hard for me to believe. Anything to do with how quickly our lives pass is hard for me to believe these days, so it's par for the course. I'm not the best gift-giver. In fact, I think I have gift-giver's anxiety, hehe. I'm making that up, but still. I can't watch someone open a gift from me. And, I feel like I have to explain exactly why I bought what I bought and why they might not like it, and what I almost bought, etc. Ha! I'm weird.
Anyway, Jeremy has never been one to say he really wanted anything for any special occasion, and typically, if he does, he wasn't something very useful. This year, instead of doing many gifts, we are making a trip out of a wedding I'm shooting near NYC...taking a few extra days for just the two of us and celebrating the birth of this special guy. He said not to get him anything, so I tried to follow through, and well, I don't think I'll ever do that again.
Fast forward to his birthday morning, and Carter was up asking where the streamers and balloons were...when we were going to get out the party favors and everything else that makes a birthday special. I had a photo album of the forty things we adore about our Jeremy and forty photos of him with his kiddos. That was it. We made some yummy sticky buns for breakfast, but Carter was a bit perplexed. So, he got out one of my lids to a big pot and put it on top of Jeremy's plate...uncovering it when he was ready to eat. And, then this happened: as I was wrapping the album, Carter said he had the perfect gift for his daddy. His very own wallet, filled with $28 that he's been saving for a special toy for months. He wanted his daddy to have it, and he will.not.take.it.back. Sweet, sweet boy.
So, on to the evening of his birthday...my mom invited us over for dinner. And, let me tell you, it was a dinner in pure Elley fashion. As we drove up, Carter said, "I cannot wait for the party favors!" Feeling pretty guilty, I told him, "Carter, I didn't get party favors either." "Oh mom, Elley thinks of everything, don't worry!"
And she does.
She had the dining room set up with her beautiful dinnerware, steaks on the grill, a funny black cake made and other cupcakes for the kids, party blowers, funny masks, noise makers and the works. Mind you, she and my dad work daily keeping the ranch in order, caring for community members, watching kids of mine or my siblings', spending time with their parents, etc. What I mean to say is that she does so much (they both do!)...and all of it is for others. She wanted to make Jeremy feel special on this birthday of his, just like she made (and continues to make ) each of her kid's birthdays special every year, and again, she went above and beyond.
I know I'm pregnant, but it was so hard not to just cry as I walked in the door...seeing just how very much she loves all of us, and how humbling that can often be.
She's the definition of selflessness, and I'm so thankful for her example in our lives. Here's a peek:
All in one photo!
It's just like feeding a baby...we all felt if we put our mouths just right, we'd help Jeremy with his candles.And, then everyone got their own turn.
They boys couldn't wait any longer and ripped open Jeremy's present! After that, Carter had a little apple splitting show for his dad. It's a plastic sword, fyi.
And, this guy, who adores his little Gen, kept her entertained.
Happy birthday, Jeremy!