last night we celebrated josh’s 34th birthday. he’s finally joined me in the middle 30’s. we celebrated with his family at his parents’ house. and it felt like a family celebration should feel.
it was fun. it was lighthearted. the kids sat at one end of the table and i at the other, because they don’t need my help with their food anymore. with this i felt a sense of freedom. i felt like an adult.
we laughed. i heard stories of things my husband and his brothers did when they were younger. some of these stories i’ve heard many times before and they still make me laugh and smile.
the kids went fishing with their uncle in the backyard. and they played kickball in the front yard, all by themselves, until it was dark. they tracked clumps of wet grass in on their shoes and grammy and gramps told them not to worry about it.
josh received birthday gifts with meaning. his parents, his brother and brother and sister~in~law, each put extra thought into the gifts they selected. various items that would be special to josh. like candy cigarettes.
we were there well past the kids’ bedtime. when it was time to head home, they ran outside barefoot, because their shoes and socks were covered in wet grass, to get in the van. they went out on their own. in the dark. on their own.
i carried out, in several rounds, the kids’ shoes and socks, kickball and bases, our leftover food, and josh’s birthday gifts. on my own. the kids sat in the van. josh stayed in to visit with his parents.
on one of my trips back into the house, i saw josh and his parents through the screen door. the warm glow of the inside of the house was shining out and the stars were shining brightly in the sky. and i thought, “this is how i always thought things should be.”
on our way home we sang a few songs to Jesus, about Jesus. the stars and the moon beaming through the windows. with three sleepy kids behind me and my husband’s hand in mine, i remembered that this was the kind of night i’d dreamt of, long before i got married and had children. and i was grateful. and i am grateful.