(Photo by Tim Cattera Photography)
So I was faced with a challenge this year. The love of my life was turning 40. For those who know me, this inspired ALL.SORTS of grand ideas and schemes… I started to think about the event and how to show him just how proud I am of all that he does and has accomplished and how to really celebrate the past 40yrs of his life. I started thinking about this MONTHS in advance…
It ranged from trying to organize a vacation and having his East Coast based family surprise him to a family trip to an awesome resort to a weekend away… Most of these thoughts and conversations happened prior to realizing that IRONMAN was a HUGE dream for him…. With lots of planning conversations with his older sister and looking at schedules, we started to widdle down the ideas… but then came the training and scheduling of the Marathon and deciding that the ultimate goal of Ironman.. I then decided that as much as it pained me to do so – that I needed to bring Eric into the conversation…. This was difficult on several levels for me… I LOVE surprising people (Eric is not so much a fan of surprises) and I wanted him to have a special moment, day, thing, memory… because the last 40yrs have included many ups and downs for my guy and what he has accomplished in the past 10months alone is staggering to me…
So we brought Eric into the conversation and realized that while I may want to whisk him and our family away to an awesome vacation and that his family may have very much wanted to surprise him – our budgets and schedules would really not allow for it. So we finalized our summer plans, which actually had us flying on his birthday.. we registered for the family 10k and purchased the gear needed to enable him to put his best foot forward for his TRI and IM events.. we did the responsible adult thing…..and I went along with it… for a while anyway…
This is the thing about me… I can appreciate the rational and logical..but then my over-the-top-shout-from-the-roof-tops-SHOW-YOU personality takes over… and fortunately for me.. my dad makes an absolute awesome partner in my over-the-topness.. 🙂
I had decided that I could not and WOULD NOT let Eric’s 40th Birthday come and pass without an acknowledgment… and a token of not only my love for him… but my love for all the work he has done to become who he is today.. for himself, for me and for our family. His transformation and work has rocked our family to the very foundation. We ARE a family because of him.. we strive to be better because of him.. we are all happier and healthier because of him.. and I am the happiest and healthiest version of myself than I ever have been.. I would be damned if that was not going to be celebrated.
My dad helped me come up with a plan and really the most perfect gift…
Now – My dad is a watch guy and he is a craftsman who works with his hands daily –because of this, he has an appreciation for finely made things; Cars, Shoes and watches… he understands the value and the symbolism of those items.
His logic made sense to me. I could plan a trip, that would be full of memories and amazing experiences – but it would be fleeting. I could also put the money towards gear and we all know that I AM the equipment manager and I got this little affliction from my father.. but that honestly – that was going to happen anyway… and really.. I should consider something that was not NEEDED, but would be appreciated, could be worn every day and would forever be a symbol of his 40 years and all the accomplishments and appreciation that I wanted celebrated…
My dad’s partnership on this endeavor meant the world to me.. because just as Eric and I have been on a journey for us, our relationship, our family and ourselves… my family has had to have their own journey in respect to Eric and I… It’s been a bumpy road for everyone and not only has the past 9/10months been redefining for Eric and I.. but for my external family as well… and this was sorta a catalyst for me and knowing that they (and my dad) could finally realize and appreciate just where we were going and how spectacular that is for all of us..
So we began the hunt.. for the perfect watch for Eric and this birthday… with subtle and not so subtle conversations we started low.. worked ourselves really high and ended up perfectly in the middle… I also discovered along the way (though I sorta already knew it), that Eric is in fact a watch guy too….
We ended up with a gorgeous Omega.. One that can be worn every day, just as easily as it could be worn for special occasions. This was a watch that would work with his lifestyle and activity level, but can be worn with pride at any event or on any occasion… but it is not a watch that will only sit on a winder, except for special moments or 4 times a year… though that watch is in fact now on his wish list and my watch list 😉
It is a watch, that I hope, will bring a smile to his face for many years to come and when he looks down – will be reminded of all that he has gone through, come back from and accomplished in his first 40years and will be reminded of just how much he is loved, admired and respected by me… and my family.
And in TRUE me fashion… he got his gift on a random day, months in advance to his actual birthday… because we went on the hunt and happened to find an awesome deal in our own back yard. We looked at used and new, internet searches and networking was done.. and we happened into the best price around.. which makes me extra happy J but.. because the gift was given so far in advance.. I couldn’t let his very special day.. or month go uncelebrated.
So I devised a plan… a very low key and informal surprise birthday dinner. It so happened that we registered for our first family race – See previous blog post – and it fell on the Sunday before his Tuesday birthday and our summer vacation departure.. and so to celebrate, we would be having dinner out with the girls (Alex was with his dad since he would be spending 15days with us) at one of the only restaurants in town that is “Body by Eric” approved.
So the ruse would be easy to pull off…. I sent out an evite to close family and friends and we had a surprise party!
Our good friend and AWESOME photographer Tim Cattera reminded me via text that I couldn’t easily walk out the front door with my gear but assured me that he would be there to capture the moments and I could take over shooting after the initial surprise.. of course.. while trying to get Eric and the three girls out the door.. I totally forgot to pre-load my gear into the car… so thankfully for me.. Tim captured the evening… Check him out for any and all of your photographer needs.. He really is AWESOME..
And I was beyond happy that I was able to celebrate Eric and all he does and has done with both a symbol that will last for years and years and serve as a reminder to him of all that he has accomplished, as well as an event – that could be shared with friends and family, that created those memories….
All Photos to follow are by Tim Cattera Photography
And just a few days later – he spent his 40th birthday on a plane, flying home, so that he could celebrate that evening with his favorite pizza and strawberry shortcake.
It was the perfect way to celebrate an incredible man and an amazing partner. Happy 40th Birthday my love… I am looking forward to spending the next 40 with you!