...in honor of his 40th birthday! (just a few days late)
That dreaded age! Ok, not dreaded by him, but dreaded by me, because him turning 40 means I am THAT much closer myself. I still refuse to be "almost 40". I am quite comfortably at the end of my mid 30s. I suppose once I hit 39, I will have to embrace "almost 40" but not a day before! I mean truly it feels like yesterday that I was ducking my head in embarrassment as my dad dropped me off at White Station Junior High with a massive sign taped to the back of his car that read,
"Lawdy, lawdy Charles is 40"
or something like that.
Yesterday, I tell you!
But then I look around me and realize that I have 4 kids, the oldest of whom is 13 (!!), increasingly grey hair, etc etc. I don't FEEL that old. I still picture myself as fairly young. And then I hang around a group of college students.
Yeah, I'm old. Or at least oldER than I feel.
And since I started writing this post a week ago, I have been asked while out with a group of ladies if I was the MOTHER of one of the lovely ladies who happens to be about 5 years younger than me!
Well that's humbling.
Anyway, the point of this post is not to lament about my age but to share 40 favorite memories in honor of my man.
Here they are in no particular order...
40. The day we met. Sunday, August 30, 1992. I introduced myself to him after church (my grandparents worked with his family in Africa)! So against my sort of shy nature I introduced myself and we walked to the MC (Mississippi College) cafeteria together and had fried chicken. (I'm lying, I don't know that it was fried chicken, but it's a very safe guess...)
39. Finding out we were pregnant for the first time on his 26th birthday! For that matter, finding out we were pregnant for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th times also. You're not miscounting, I had a miscarriage.
38. The time he put a handful of LIVE crickets down the back of my 1 piece swimming suit down by the lake at Hot Springs causing me to have to RUN all the way back up to the house where I could strip down in the bathroom to remove said crickets. Ok, so this MAY not be one of my favorite memories but he definitely likes to laugh about it. I like the fact that it gets me out of EVER having to put a cricket on another fishing line EVER again. I like fishing. I HATE crickets. I CAN put one on a line but this creates a reason to never have to...
37. Sunday and/or Saturday morning crepes with Jason as the master chef. It's no secret in our house, that despite my love of cooking, I cannot for the life of me make crepes look pretty, and Jason has it down to an art. The girls love our crepe mornings!
36. Taking donuts to the security guard in charge of the door to the girls' dorm at MC when we were out after curfew so he would let me in. Yes, girls had curfew, guys didn't...
35. Playing tennis at 6 AM during our first year of dating, just to have another reason to be together.
34. First road trip with my family to St. Louis for a Cardinals game. Poor Jason sweated to death in the back of the mini-van but was too unfamiliar with our crazy, dysfunctional (aren't all families dysfunctional?!) family to know he should speak up!
33. Honeymoon in a hurricane. Quite literally. Hurricane Aaron of August 1995 to be exact. Our Carnival Cruise skipped most of the ports and spent the majority of the 4 days trying to stay out of the eye of said hurricane. Waves were splashing up over the deck of 10th floor of the boat, we were riding 40 foot waves and they literally had barf bags set out in every window. For a few days around 50 or so of the 2700 people on the boat showed up for meals. All shows were cancelled, but hey, our "friendly cruise director Larry" came on the intercom about every hour to give a weather update and they had the movie "Field of Dreams" on a continual loop since all the shows were cancelled. They offered us a $50 discount on another cruise if we would take it within the next 6 months. Thanks a lot, Carnival! These poor college students about broke the bank paying for the first one!
32. My first overseas Christmas. In Kandern, Germany in 1994 after we got engaged. So many fun memories! Rook games, yummy Christmas treats, hikes in the Black Forest, overnight trip to Paris, listening to the Carpenters over and over AND OVER.
31. Skiing in the French Alps during overseas Christmas with Cox family. More card games, getting snowed in our little cabin, Jason almost breaking his leg sledding down a staircase, Kimberly skiing backwards into a tree, me falling off the ski lift.
30. Going to Williamsburg, VA with the Cameron family while waiting on our French visas to go overseas. Most Cameron family trips involve memories of my dad's fantastic driving skills. This trip was no exception. Love you dad!
29. First time fly fishing on the Little Red River in Arkansas for our 3 year anniversary. Getting up at 5 AM, apricot/pecan muffins and thermoses of coffee, the beauty of God's creation and the quiet whisper of the river, and our own fly fishing guide. All for free because the guide who also owned the bed and breakfast we stayed in took pity on our poor selves and did it all on the house!
28. Holding hands on our first date after renting Cape Fear. He swears it wasn't planned!
27. Being a groupie and going to all his band concerts in college. Loved listening to everyone talk about how incredibly he sang (sings) and knowing that was MY GUY! Too bad American Idol came around just a few years too late.
26. For that matter, hearing him sing anytime, anywhere- church, weddings (there were quite a few!), concerts etc. etc. Favorite time that stands out in my mind is when he sang Praise the Lord by Russ Taff after his chemo treatments in March 2000. The link to this song is here. Look out it's an oldie but a goodie and I can't not cry when I think about bald Jason singing this song at this time in our lives just after completing chemo.
25. Speaking of chemo, that actually makes the list as a favorite memory. Strange? Maybe. But it was a precious time of refining and God taught us so much through it. Together. Might not make Jason's favorite list as he was actually the one with the cell killing drugs coursing through his veins...
24. Cox family day trips to Little River Canyon- picnics, happy cousins, babies swimming in diapers, wading, splashing, laughing...
23. Going fishing at the lake with my Granddaddy in Hernando, MS. This was something I had been doing since I was little with Memommy and Granddaddy and is an absolute favorite childhood memory. Grandaddy actually took Jason, and his dad and brother there when they were kids too, long before Jason and I ever met, so when we got to go TOGETHER with Grandaddy, it was extra special.
22. Going with all the other soccer girlfriends to the track around the soccer field and watching our guys practice while we walked around the track.
21. The way he loves to surprise the girls with their favorite things- ice cream bars, trips to S'bucks for suckers and more recently frappaccinos. (I give up, my spell check has rejected everything I've tried...)
20. Our family vacation to Scotland with Jeremy and Kimberly and family after our first summer in the Middle East. It was amazing to be somewhere so GREEN. Abbey and Maddie ran barefoot through the parks and rolled all around in the grass.
19. The births of our 1st, 2nd 3rd and 4th daughters. Each one precious and each one amazingly unique. With Abbey his hand was sore from my squeezing so hard during the worst part of my labor, with Maddie, well, he almost delivered her himself, with Naomi he was kind enough to trip over my IV line and pull it out after they started me on pitocin against my wishes, and with Anabelle he was my rock during the craziness of an emergency c-section.
20. Spending 4 months in Montpellier, France for his IMBA internship. Amazing! Sitting at cafes, wandering through quaint little streets, playing gin rummy for hours on end because there were no movies in English, no DVDs to rent and our dial-up internet left a little to be desired, and finishing off the time with renting a car and driving through the Loire Valley visiting Chateaus the week before Christmas- magical!
19. Family Christmas in the mountains in Faraya, Lebanon. Playing games around the fire, sledding, taking the girls skiing for the first time. Enjoying lazy days of no commitments.
18. Living in Paris with our 4 and 2 year olds and getting a year membership to Euro Disney and seeing their joy in watching the Princess Parade whenever we could get there. Oh, and using our MASSIVE double stroller on the Paris metro so we could: walk around Luxembourg gardens, shop in the market at Sacre Couer, picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower, sit at a cafe outside Notre Dame just by the Latin Quarter, introduce our girls to the culinary wonder that is a crepe, but fresh baked baguettes daily from the boulangerie just outside our door.
17. Laughing 'til it hurts about funny things that the girls say- too numerous to count!!
16. Summer trips to Hot Springs with the Cox family, spending hours on the boat learning to ski, and hours learning NOT to slalom, relaxing over cards, games and ice cream.
15. Sitting in Jason's hospital room the day of his first major cancer surgery, 2 days after finding out he had cancer and surprising our parents with the news that we were pregnant with Maddie. We had planned on waiting until Thanksgiving to share the news, but given the circumstances it was the perfect joyful news to share.
14. Traveling to visit Jeremy and Kimberly and Shelby in the south of France, and, seasoned travelers that we are, planning and taking a trip to Switzerland and ALL forgetting our passports thus getting turned away at the border. We salvaged the trip and spent an amazing few days near Albertville in the French Alps. We still laugh about it and I'm pretty sure they've figured out a way to blame me...
13. October 8, 1994, the day we got engaged. Dinner in downtown Memphis, dessert at Cafe Expresso in the Peabody and a proposal on the roof of the Peabody in the rain. He had it all planned and I thought he was crazy for wanting to go out on the roof in the rain!
12. Sunday afternoon family drives to discover new things about wherever we may be living. This started in Lebanon- you could get so quickly from the sea up to the beautiful mountains so it became a favorite tradition- especially when ice cream was involved on the way back down the mountain!
11. First kiss in the top of the magnolia tree outside the student center on MC campus.
10. Late night Krispy Kreme runs in his pick-up with about 15 of our best friends piled in the back under blankets. (need I clarify that this was in college?)
9. Watching Band of Brothers, the HBO documentary about the 101st airborne division during WW2 together during my fall break from studying French in Paris then renting a car to drive to Normandy to see where everything happened.
8. Sneaking into the cheerleaders gym on MC campus after hours to jump on the massive trampolines. Yes, there was a gym just for cheerleaders. That seems weird now. Is that weird?
7. Watching him walk around our apartment in his baby blue flannel pajama pants with skiing penguins on them that the girls got him for Christmas.
6. Cameron family trip to some friends vacation home on the Little Red River in Arkansas- wading in the frigid water, teaching the kids to fly fish, Christmas brunch and early family Christmas, roasting s'mores and hot dogs by the fire, snake in the wood pile
5. When Jason literally started pulling his hair out after chemo. I'm sure his mom does not remember it very fondly, but it still makes us laugh. She was staying with us helping with Abbey, who was around 15 months old at the time. Jason had been in the back of the house taking a shower, and he came out where the rest of us where and said, "hey, watch this!". He then reached up and pulled out 2 huge handfulls of hair! Needless to say, that day we headed over to some of our best friends' house so he could help Jason shave his head!
4. Family day trips to Byblos, Lebanon by ourselves, with our girls, with friends or with either of our parents. Shopping, rock climbing by the Med, exploring old ruins, eating amazing food. Always will be a favorite place!
from our wedding program...
"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm."