I wrote this post soon after my birthday last year, but couldn't access the pictures I wanted, so I put it on hold. I haven't done a "Love is..." post for a bit, so I'm sharing now.
While I don't relish adding another year to my age, there are several things that I do love about my birthday.
As I get older, the gifts themselves mean less and less and the thought behind them and the people who celebrate with me mean the most.
I had lunch with one of my sisters at Joe's Farm Grill. We had a carb-fest with an order of loaded baked potato fries and sweet potato fries. Don't worry, we also ordered the BBQ chicken salad just to add in something "healthy". Mr. Three came along but didn't really eat a thing. He did enjoy roaming around our table with his "cell phone" (aka my little purse calculator).
I had fun talking to lots of family members on the phone throughout the day, wishing me a happy birthday.
I enjoyed a quiet dinner date with my handsome husband that evening. My birthday fell on a Tuesday this year, so there was no wait at California Pizza Kitchen. We ended up finishing earlier than we expected, even with two courses and a good conversation. With the night being relatively young, I decided to take the kiddos out with us for frozen yogurt. I wanted to include my boys in the celebration.
They loved the unexpected treat. Their excitement at the shop was another little gift to unwrap that day. However, bedtime was another story.
Note to self: Giving children sugary frozen yogurt at bedtime is not the brightest idea if you want them to go peacefully to sleep upon getting home. Enough said.
I received some lovely gifts from family (thank you! :)), and had a really great Italian dinner with my extended family on Sunday. The maple doughnuts were a fantastic ending note (thanks Seth!).
I love opening presents and all of the well wishes from loved ones, but I wanted to save my best gift for last on this post.
I look forward to my husband's creative ways of saying Happy Birthday each year, and this year did not disappoint. As I went about my day, I started noticing little pink paper hearts tucked throughout the house with short and sweet messages on them. I called him in the middle of the day to say thank you. He asked me how many I found, and I responded, oh, about 5. He paused, then said something that gave me the sense that there were more. So the hunt was on.
It was interesting how I didn't realize that there were sweet little hearts all over the house, in obvious and not-so-obvious places. I just didn't think to really look beyond the obvious few I had found in my bathroom. There were 33 hearts in all (oops, I just gave away my age!). I had the best time finding these tiny heartfelt notes, smiling and soaking in the compliments. It changed my whole outlook on my day. Oh how I love this man!
Then, I started thinking, isn't this just how real love is? If you only see the obvious signs of love, you are missing out. It was amazing to me how quickly I started finding all of the other hidden notes when I was in the frame of mind to look and seek them out. Some of them were literally right in front of my nose, and I had somehow missed them earlier in my day. I am guilty of taking my relationship for granted at times. I just know my husband is there, and feel a general sense of happiness and wholeness when we are together. That is a wonderful thing. Oh, but when I take that little bit of time to focus on specific reasons why I love him, or the ways I see our love developing and deepening, I feel such joy and gratitude! This is a blessing.
Love can't be bought. Love often is simple things done with purpose. Love is thinking of someone else and finding ways to make them happy. Most importantly, we can each gain greater love by seeking out all of those small manifestations around us that show that love is still there and is, in fact, growing.