My dear friend brought me lunch today to begin my birthday celebration. We enjoyed some paninis and great conversation and berry tarts. I received a gift from my brother and a card from my sister yesterday. Another dear friend sent a card that arrived today. I don’t know why I am already receiving so much love from so many, but it is kind and thoughtful of people to remember 6 and 7 days early. I don’t have many plans for my birthday. I hope to spend time with the kids during spring break and have a fun, relaxing day. I do have an appointment to get passports with the kids on the actual day of my birthday. It will be fun to begin the process of our European adventures. If one purpose of birthday celebrations is to give and receive love, I have already felt lots of that love and thoughtfulness.
Robin has been really sick for two days. She has mostly slept, laid down, watched a few movies, and slept some more in a feverish state. She has been drinking water, eating very little, saying little also, and just in almost a state of hibernation. In the middle of the night, she called for me, “Mom, can you come in the bathroom and help me.” She had the sweetest voice as I sat and helped her through her sickness. She needed help in taking a quick bath and getting new pajamas on. She has been quietly combatting the sickness inside her body.
I have taken moments here and there to sit with her head in my lap and just hold her. I have taken her temperature, put a cool cloth on her forehead, and just kissed her cheek. I feel untold amounts of love for her as she fights off this virus. I am grateful for the ability to love and care for her. I see so many around me caring for their elderly parents, newborn babies, older spouses, sick children, and those in need with quiet love and devotion and service. It fills a unique space in our hearts as we reach out to those that can’t help themselves. We lose ourselves in their care and find a deeper love than existed before. I don’t yearn for these sick days, but I definitely find a different part of my heart and soul is tapped into during the times when I suspend other responsibilities and attend to the immediate need of the sick one. I feel honored and blessed to have Robin to care for during her illness.
44 years old and 4 years as bishop. I was feeling especially grateful for Erik’s service as bishop for the past four years and wanted him to feel the love from the people he serves so faithfully. Yesterday the ward sang three birthday songs for him. There was a lot of love in the room!
Last night, we celebrated Kristine, Rachel and Erik’s birthdays together with the whole family.
Then many people shared gratitude thoughts about Andrea and Erik. Some highlights about them: peaceful, focused on what is important, kind and thoughtful, sense of humor, interested in people, wonderful in their church callings. I feel honored to be in the room with such wonderful families and friends.
We love Dad!
I love Erik for his kindness, humor, gentle encouragement, belief in each one of us, his righteousness, his devotion to helping others on their path, his closeness to the Lord, his desire to do what is right, his loving ways, his creativity, and his whole soul. I am honored to have him for a partner and best friend, eternally.
It was a simple day of sharing love. We actually started the day by going to the dentist’s office. Then I headed into Erik’s office after getting the kids back to school. He had this waiting for me.
So sweet. I decided to get a few things for the kids that I thought they really were wanting. Everything from a water bottle (like her sister’s gave each other for Christmas) to some colorful pants and shirts.
And it is really the love that counts.
That will be the measure of our lives, the love we have given and received together.
Robin just fell asleep. Most nights one of us sits by her bed until she falls asleep. She gets more sleep that way. So we take the 10 or 15 extra minutes and sit with her. Tonight she reached out and patted me on the head. A small moment of kindness. She wasn’t falling asleep quickly, so I reached out and put my hand on her forehead and told her I loved her. Her act of loving kindness helped me do the same for her.
Today was a sick day for Maren and me. I stayed in bed late with a sore throat and head cold. She woke up with the same and threw up a few times. Erik was very kind to both of us. He just took an extra few minutes away from work to make sure we were cared for. Over the course of the day he made both of these smoothies for me.I have been wanting to try both of them, got the special ingredients needed — flax seeds, ginger root, rice milk, frozen raspberries, spinach, parsley, etc. — and he took the time to actually make them for me and deliver them to me. A special kindness on a day when I didn’t feel great.
When all the kids came home, they each seemed to need extra love and attention. I think Brandon may be getting the cold we have. He needed to use his calculator and was all spread out on the couch doing homework and asked if I would get it for him out of his backpack. I really wasn’t feeling well, but I knew he wasn’t either. So I got up and found it for him. Nicole needed a listening ear. Erik was home to give it to her. After trying to give her many solutions for her dilemmas, I started to try and listen more and just receive what she had to say. She was kind to me and kept me company while I made dinner. Camille always gives great hugs just when I need them.
Even though I didn’t have much to give, I somehow knew I needed some homemade chicken noodle soup. That was my offering to the fragile crew we all were today.
The seven of us made it to the dinner table. And the chicken soup and warm bread was just what the doctor ordered. I usually make dinner with a crew of kids. Then Erik cleans up. I was listening to a podcast here about how kindness inspires kindness – 40 random acts of kindness someone did on her 40th birthday. I was so tired, and my head was aching. Erik was getting Robin ready for bed, and the dishes weren’t done. I knew how tired Erik was after caring for all of us today and going to work on top of it all. Maren was feeling a bit better, and so we went and put all the soup dishes away and wiped up the counters and scrubbed the pots and pans while listening to that inspiring podcast.
Kindness does inspire kindness. Love begets love. Service inspires service. All those kindnesses help us connect and unite. It was a sick day, but one filled with love and service and kindness all around.