My man turns 30 today. We’ve celebrated 13 of those 30 birthdays together.
We’ve celebrated as teenagers riding to dinner in Bessie, the name Matt lovingly gave his hunter green Jeep, the one with the gas tank cover that wouldn’t close.
We’ve celebrated under the glass dome of Tavern on the Green and ending under the clock in the center of Times Square just as it rolled over to midnight.
We’ve celebrated with a surprise trip to Memphis with Peabody ducks and pounds of BBQ, having no idea we would be moving to the same city three months later.
We’ve celebrated with Irish grub and Muddy’s cupcakes and cheering our Grizzlies on.
We’ve celebrated with friends over burgers and at home with Mamaw’s famous coconut cake, the kind you poke holes in while it’s still warm and drizzle condensed milk and cream of coconut all over.
And this past week we celebrated in Chicago, taking the train and falling in love with the Windy City. We saw a gorgeous Neapolitan crèche, watched the Bulls beat the Cavs, witnessed Baby Beluga whales up close, found a new favorite restaurant (Girl and the Goat) and ate a lot of deep-dish pizza. We had the best time exploring the city, walking miles and taking everything in. Long, delicious meals and lots of laughing together.
Several weeks before we left I asked our parents and a few men close to Matt to write letters speaking into him all that they saw. When we boarded our train, I handed him the letters and we both had the best time reading them. We laughed and maybe teared up a time or two. But as he read those letters, my heart swelled. These people spoke of his loyalty, his humility, his faith, his leadership, his generosity and how wonderful a husband and daddy he is.
In our little family, we like to raise a glass–any glass–a champagne flute, a Sonic styrofoam cup, a mug of hot cider, a sippy cup, whatever is in front us, and make a toast. Lydi always says, “Let’s clink!” And we toast all sorts of things… big things, small things, almost nothings. But for that moment with our glasses in the air we pause and recognize the gifts God has given us.
Today, I toast my favorite person and the greatest man I know, my best friend, my teammate and the very best part of me. Matt, here’s to 30 and all that God will do with your willing, humble heart. Happy birthday! I love you to the moon and back.