In the morning I got a nice Columbia sweater and jacket from Lawrence and the kids. There was no mention of cleaning devices as a gift. Lawrence and Julia gave me cards that had beautiful words that brought tears to my eyes. My children painted picture frames with Julia and she included a picture of me with each of them inside the frame with their name on it, it was an awesome gift. Julia gave me a book called "Mommy Grace - Erasing your Mommy Guilt". Given my last blog post, and after reading a few reviews on it, I just can't wait to devour it and learn a little something. Sabine called in the morning from Germany, it was a sweet pleasant surprise, and again, I felt myself holding back the tears. I got some other nice cards in the mail from my friend Robin, Sabine, my mom, and my in-laws. MY MOM got me a card and gift ON TIME. Unheard of for her, therefore so appreciated. I know it's hard. My friend Carrie put THIS link on my FaceBook wall, and I watched it again and again and again, laughing hysterically! She also sent me an ecard that said, "Sorry you didn't get the card that I can't remember if I sent". That made me laugh because I have felt that way more times than I care to admit.
Worked wasn't easy, full of frustration, but I had a great lunch and talk with my good friend Lynnette at the office who shares my birthday. Neither of us had time to leave for lunch, but at 2pm we just decided to go because we deserved it and wanted to give ourselves that lunch date. I also got to skype with my brother for a few minutes. He is at Camp Shelby in Mississippi waiting to deploy next week and it was SO good to see him and talk to him. It made a really wonderful break in the day. I miss him. I left the office at 5pm and didn't get out of downtown until 5:40, traffic was so bad. I wanted to cry because I left in time to get home by then.
But then I got home. And my birthday was awesome again. Bryson crawled toward me quickly saying a version of "mama" and smiled big at daddy and Julia while he rested his head against my shoulder after I'd picked him. I LOVE when he rests his head on my shoulder and hugs me. And then he pulled my hair, just because he loves to do that too. Lily made her and I matching necklaces, out of what appeared to be shoelaces, beads, and a key-chain ring - complete with a J bead for me and L bead for her. Can't wait to wear it. :) The kids and Julia had made me a yummy German Lemon Cake and Lawrence had left work early to shop for and make my favorite dinner of steak and mashed potatoes. After NOT getting my candles blown out on the first (or second) try, I had a little help from Lily. We ate our dessert and got into jammies. I nursed Bryson and put him to bed, then read to the girls and put them to bed. I thanked God for my wonderful family. Everyone went down perfectly. I called my mom because I knew she was probably waiting to call me, not sure when bedtime would be over, and not wanting to interrupt.
I collapsed in sweats and cuddled with Lawrence. It was a perfect birthday, minus the stressful work day - but even that was made better by Matt & Lynnette. I felt kind of emotional as I soaked it all in. I was glad to soak it all in. We'll go to dinner this weekend with a few friends to celebrate, it's been a few months since we had a date night so I'm looking forward to that. But we'll go after everyone is in bed so I can maximize my time with the kids. No working from home this week or next. boo, that makes things harder! Bryson is still getting up at the crack of dawn, but it is 5am rather than 4am, so we have progress. Update re: bad mom. I'm not one, I know, and she hasn't said it again, even though she would be entitled. I do miss them right now, but they are happy and loved and they are okay. And they are insanely excited to see me each evening, if only for a few minutes before bedtime. And that feels bittersweet.
Yesterday morning, Lily asked me what I would wish for. I don't remember the generic answer that I gave her, something like, I already have it all right here in front of me.
Then I really thought about what I would "wish" for on my birthday. For some reason it took on a deeper meaning than usual as I mulled it over much of the day. What do I wish for? Like in my life? So I jotted a few things down about what I really "want".
1. I want my children to feel loved, really really loved, like I do from my mom.
2. I want to stay married to Lawrence for my whole life and to model a realistic loving relationship that I would proud for our kids to seek in their own spouses.
3. I want to make a difference in a lot of people's lives. I want to be thought of as someone who truly cares, not just someone who goes through the motions of caring, or someone who doesn't care at all.
4. I want my friends to feel like I understand them, and I want them to feel validated by that. I want them to understand me, and love me as I am.
5. I want Matt to come home safely in a year. I want to remember to send him a lot of packages so he feels loved and thought of.
6. I want to love in a way that makes people see and feel God's love. I've seen that, felt that, in a few people, and I want people to see that in me. I want to be so full of love that His love overflows on to those around me. For those who don't feel close to Him to believe that He isn't about judgment or rules or hypocrisy, just about Love and Grace.
7. I want to be debt free.
8. I want my friends who are are grieving and in extreme turmoil to feel peace. To have some rest.
9. I want to remember to always to look at my blessings and my strengths, rather than be discontent in my circumstance and wallow in my weaknesses.
10. I want to be up to date on blogging, scrapbooking, and photo organizing. I want our life and their childhood to be fully and wonderfully documented.
When I look over this list I see 2 things, besides the fact that it sounds a little sappy. One, a lot of the stuff on here talks about love, that means I'm definitely on to something. Two, #10 is probably the most difficult to accomplish, maybe even harder than paying off the house! :)