Forty has arrived!

 

After all the avoiding and thinking that I could just “skip it,” my fortieth birthday arrived yesterday, right on schedule. Funny how time just keeps marching on, right? Actually, my first gift arrived the night before when a fast and furious storm blew into Lexington with little warning. Todd and Patrick had just left the house on their way to church and were in the van when the wind whipped up so hard and so fast that it broke a huge limb from the top of our tree and caused it to crash onto the driveway. It happened in an instant, it seemed, and on the driveway where we normally park one of our two vans. As it turned out, Todd’s van and trailer had been parked in the street and my van was in the grass. The fallen limb shattered the smaller branches around it in a rather large mess.

 

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Thank you, Mayhem, for coming to our home! We were incredibly thankful that the boys were not involved. The next morning, however, they were involved in the cleanup effort.

 

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Another strange delivery arrived on our front lawn later that night between storms. Everyone except Hannah was at the church for musical practice or set construction, and I received a strange text from her about halfway through. “Are you expecting anyone, Mom? Some guy I don’t recognize is putting letters in the front yard!” Since she has not the life experience of pranks or other such activities surrounding milestone birthdays, so she had no idea what was happening before her eyes! When we arrived home, we saw a birthday greeting that spanned almost the entire length of our front lawn, complete with a flock of pink flamingos. Who on earth could have arranged that for me?

 

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The kids were immediately tickled by the flamingos in particular and planned which ones they would claim (not understanding that the flock would quickly move on…).

 

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What an awesome way to mark the day! Whoever had organized this did a fantastic job. I had a few suspicions as to who could be responsible, but ended up being totally surprised later in the day to find out that it was actually my family in Michigan who had set it up! Sneaky folks, they are! It was fabulous.

 

On the morning of my birthday, I shared a special treat with my coffee drinking buddy, Todd, that I had been saving since last December. I bought several pounds of my favorite Starbucks flavor, Christmas Blend, and tucked one away for a birthday treat. It did not disappoint.

 

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The day had more surprises and delights in store. Thanks to Facebook, my phone’s alerts went off all day. For someone whose love language is ‘words of encouragement,’ that was a real blessing.

 

 

 

 

My parents, who had planned a weekend trip with everyone in Cincinnati before Mom’s fall, had to move on to plan B and sent a box full of various thoughtful gifts to mark the day.

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It must have hurt my dad a whole lot to buy me a UK cup. I really appreciate his sacrifice!!

 

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Earlier in the week, I had received an unmarked package which turned out to be a shirt from my cousin in Arizona. My older cousin who had turned 40 four years ago. The shirt, I thought, had been passed down from cousin to cousin to wear as they turned that magical number. How fun! What I learned on the day of my birthday, however, was that in reality, the shirt had originated thirty-four years before when my dad turned 40. As the oldest member of his family, the tradition was started with him and had been passed down to each of his sisters and then the cousins. Suddenly the “fun” shirt transformed into a much more meaningful tradition! We took pictures and then carefully took it off. I’m not sure, but I think it may have historical protection status. I treated it accordingly, just to be safe.

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While Todd was trying to get a picture of me (such a hard job for someone like me; pictures of myself are difficult to approve…this is probably the only blog post with so many of me, me, me…ugh), Andrew snapped perhaps the best candid picture of the day.

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It’s fun to be forty! Sort of.

A mysterious stranger sent me a text around 6pm instructing me to look out on the van. Thankfully, no tree branches had crashed on top of it. Instead, there was a large balloon and deliciously decorated chocolate covered strawberries!

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I love the little body coming out of the bottom of the balloon. 🙂

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I wouldn’t find until much later–when a card was delivered to the house–that these treats were made by our dear friends the Hagans.

Todd took me out to dinner, but while we were there, his family all stopped by in an instance of bad timing for both of us. Not waiting to leave feeling they hadn’t done what they came to do, they recorded themselves singing happy birthday to me and sent it via text. I was so sorry to miss their visit (but the dinner out with Todd was lovely).

Ralph and Laura and their kids brought yet another of my favorite treats–key lime pie. It was waiting for me in the fridge when we returned home.

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And another balloon to remind me of just how old I had become…

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We ended the day looking through old pictures and shared a piece of birthday cake (my favorite: Boston Crème Pie)…except for Brendan, who preferred to have some mint chocolate chip ice cream.

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All in all, it was a very, very good day. I have been blessed beyond measure in the years I have been given so far, and pray that however many I have left will be just as full of family, friends, and fulfillment. Thank you to everyone who sent a message (or a FLOCK OF FLAMINGOS!!) or a treat. You made my day extremely special!

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