And just like that… I turned 36.

Three and a half years ago, I moved to Portland looking for a connection.  I wanted to connect with family and find my roots.  Although it was hard to leave the place I called home for 20+ years, I thought maybe the Pacific Northwest would help me find what I was missing.

How right I was.

The past weekend has been so full of love and good wishes, it was nearly busting at the seams.  What began as a small get-together for my birthday turned into a houseful of friends and family.  All day long, there were notes, texts, and phone calls from loved ones near and far offering up a bit of cheer.  I woke up the morning I turned thirty six, already thinking the day was perfect.

And then things got amazing.

For years I have wanted a big farmhouse table.  I love the look of them, a bit rough and with the character of the wood only enhancing as the years go by.  Like a well-worn leather couch, a well-loved farmhouse table has stories to tell.  But more than the aesthetic, I wanted a place where friends and family could gather round and share a meal, conversation, or a game of cards.  I wanted a spot where people would naturally gravitate toward, telling stories and making memories.  Those were some of my favorite moments in my childhood and I wanted that for my own home.

In the weeks leading up to my birthday, I dropped subtle (as a freight train) hints that a table would be a great present.  When Kevin asked for gift ideas, it was the only thing on my list.  Gently, he told me there just wasn’t enough time to put something like that together… summers in our house are busy, full of commitments and work.

Saturday came and guests started arriving.  The food was prepped, the house was clean, and I was free to relax and enjoy the conversation.  In the midst of everything, Kevin’s cousins, Michael and Jesse, arrived and with them, my birthday surprise.  A beautiful, custom-made farmhouse table.  Unbeknownst to me, while I was working, so were they.  Kevin, Jesse and Michael spent days designing and building this beautiful piece of furniture that is now one of my most treasured family heirlooms.  It means so much to me that they, Kevin’s family – and now mine – built it.  Of course, I cried.

So, interwebs, family members (inherited & otherwise), and friends… a million thank you’s for welcoming me to thirty six.  Thank you for making me feel so, so loved.  It’s gonna be a good year.  :-)

Ciara - This brought tears to my eyes as well! I am so happy you are happy Mama. 36 looks great on you.

thenik - Oh my, oh my. This is just so lovely, much like you and your mister. Deeply happy for one of my favorite friends. I have plans to make memories with you guys around that table. With beer and cheese and laughter and kids. Love you, lady.

Laura - So happy for you. Its been a minute since I’ve been on here. And a few since you posted anything. I am happy for you. Sending lots of love! Laura

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