#2,049 30 Days + Mammaw’s Kitchen.

It took me by surprise what an emotional day this was for me.

You know about my anxiety about turning 30 on August 30.

So, this morning the moment I opened my eyes, I smelled bacon cooking. Ben was up, apparently making breakfast for everybody and I sent him a text from bed that asked, “Are the kids up yet?” And he walked in the room, and turned on the lamp and handed me a card and a little paper book.

He gave me a big mooney grin and said he’d be right back after he flipped the pancakes on the griddle, and I sat there, reading a book he made himself with Elmer’s glue and clip art. Today is August 1, which means I have 30 days left in my twenties, and this book contains lists that amount to 3 trips and 30 days of activities that will celebrate being alive and turning 30, activities that he knows I love, places I want to see, things I’ve wanted to do but haven’t, things from my past and things from our story, and I sat there sobbing feeling the embarrassment of riches of having a man who cares for me so extravangantly. My heart was broken when he came back into the room because I don’t know how to ever thank him for the way he loves me or how to show it back to him. I held on tight to him, my arms wrapped around his big chest and cried and wailed—the happiest tears. This month will be wonderful. This entire life will be wonderful, because I’m sharing every step and every moment with him. The first thing to cross off the list: mountains of pumpkin spice pancakes with Jim, Mal, and the kids even though it’s not fall, because it’s my favorite season.

I haven’t stopped swooning for this man since I woke up today—on the verge of tears from beginning to end. Later in the morning we went out to my parents to see John Walker. Ben spent an hour rolling and jumping in the floor with these two and Hooper, pretending to be a bear, making Walker scream in delight. Again, my heart broke. I have no idea why. It’s just the way he lives so voraciously and joyfully is inspiring to me, and Walker growing up takes a toll on me, too:

Afterward we stopped by my Mammaw’s house where Clark and Daddy are cleaning things up so Clark and his family can live there for a little while while they build their new house. I somehow managed another potentially crippling emotional moment, sorting through her kitchen goods with Daddy, who enouraged me to take home anything that was special to me. And goodness, were there so many things that were special to me. I came home with the marble rolling pin she used to make pie crusts, the bakeware bowl she kept in the top cabinet above the stove:

The glass tea pitcher she filled every morning, always ready for guests in the refrigerator with a tin foil lid to keep it fresh, and most precious of all—her stainless biscuit making bowl. This is the bowl she used every time she made a pan of biscuits, the bowl she used to teach me how to make a nest in the flour with my tiny fist before adding the shortening and buttermilk, a bowl that even after scrubbing keeps the years of her milky fingerprints in its finish:

I barely got through that washing without crying, while Ben worked carefully disassembling her stand mixer to repair the missing parts and shorted electrical cord. I’ll share that in a later post, and probably cry over it then. To cheer things up, he told me we were crossing off the next thing on the list—a trip to my childhood at Sawmill Square Mall, and lunch at Tacos, my first job when I was 15. It was a hysterical and delightful way to spend a couple hours:

I think they were totally impressed with the authenticity of said tacos.

And finally, we went home to get ready for supper club at Ross and Laura’s house where we played mega Jenga and got scared every time it would fall, even if we saw it coming:

I can’t really express what today felt like for me, emotionally. I saw my life up to this point flash before my eyes, in a way.

And I think that’s the hard thing about birthdays, the way we count the passage of time, but I’m learning that that’s the amazing thing about birthdays, too. That’s the way a good life is lived, measured, and remembered.