December 24th is a rotten time to have a birthday. It crowds against Jesus’ birthday, for Pete’s sake. I just learned this year that Caro was actually born in the wee morning hours of December 24, so if her mom had just pushed a little harder, she could have been a December 23rd baby.

Today is Carolyn’s birthday, and our family is celebrating this morning. Sam is still in bed, but I’m sure he’s dreaming sweet things about his momma and how his hair is as long as hers these days. Adelyn and Carolyn left, with Adelyn driving, to go get pedicures. I didn’t even know their pedis were sick. And me? I’m going to go all out… and make the bed for her – even though she got up last (we have this deal; whoever gets up last makes the bed). Oh, and I’m writing a sweet blog entry in her honor. And making a collage.

Over the years, Carolyn has trained us well. We have another friend from OBU whose birthday is also on the 24th, and I wonder if Susan has also trained her family? The following are our guidelines to ensuring that Carolyn’s birthday doesn’t get lost in Christmas:

  • Each family member should give her a birthday card. (This is the easiest to forget with all the Christmas shopping going on.) There have been many years where a last-minute homemade card has been made and presented to her with the ink still wet. If I had to categorize the card topics she’s received over the years, I’d say the breakdown looks like this: 50% about flatulence, 15% about getting older, 20% random funny, 10% homemade; 5% sweet and thoughtful.
  • birthday-mound

    Notice Sam broke the wrapping paper rule this year.

    Presents must be wrapped in birthday paper. Even though it’s a Christmas season birthday, the rest of us get birthday paper wrapping, so it’s only fair she does as well. This normally produces a scramble for me and the kids trying to figure where she stores birthday wrapping paper. It often results in grocery sacks, newspaper and copy-paper-with-hearts-drawn-on-it wrapping.

  • The dining table becomes a birthday display a few days in advance. My family didn’t do this growing up, but since we’ve had kids, Carolyn has always begun a birthday display on the dining table. It’s a growing mound of presents and cards from each other and from grandparents and friends. Cards received in the mail are put on the table as well, all to be opened on the birthday. So even though the dining table also displays Christmas cards received during December,  for a week or so, we shove the Christmas cards over, and the crowded table also displays Carolyn’s birthday mound.
  • There must be a birthday cake. Yes, there are dozens of other goodies around, including pies and cookies. However, those are Christmas snacks. This year, she’s requested brownies.

All these guidelines are to help us genuinely celebrate her birthday as distinct and separate as the rest of the family.

Carolyn is the soul of our home. Her birthday is worth celebrating intentionally and intensively. She keeps things running, makes sure we all show up in places we’re supposed to be, whips up incredible meals, and works incredibly hard to transform the house we live into a home for refuge, laughter, hospitality and rest.

Happy December 24th birthday, Carolyn!

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