Yes, I’m still talking about 1. My Florida trip and 2. My birthday. Build a bridge, dude.

My visits to Florida usually follow a predictable pattern of catching up with family and friends. Every day I see an aunt or cousin or former co-worker or someone who once joined me in singing along passionately to Boyz II Men’s “Water Runs Dry” is like medicine for my soul. We are social creatures, and settling onto a couch or at a kitchen table or into a pedicure chair or at a table in a frozen yogurt shop across from someone who knows me wakes up a part of my heart that rarely sees the light here in Virginia.

It’s a week (or three, whatevs) spent without the pretense or awkward silences or facades of fresh friendships and lets me relax into years-old inside jokes and nicknames and stories meant to be told and retold and retold and…

I was lucky enough to be surrounded by these comforts during the happiest week of the year: birthday week, of course. And I gotta say, the folks in my life are pros at being awesome and making me feel extra special, even if I’m not carrying a human inside my innards.

To express just how lucky I felt, I tried to pay it forward (or back again?) with thank you cards. I had to execute a quick turn around because my stash of thank you cards are in blinding highlighter hues, really only appropriate for summer or a three-year old’s birthday party. When they were all signed and sealed, they were so adorbs chillin’ on the counter that I thought twice about actually mailing them.

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I hope you got yours this week. And, if you didn’t, just assume it’s still serving as the stomping ground for Ol’ Elephanté and accept my sincerest thanks from the deeply personal venue of my internet blog. And rest assured I did not return your gift and use the cash for two-a-day caramel macchiatos.

xoxo, for always.

Here is just a little sampling of everything that warranted a grateful shock to the senses in the mailbox.

Bday Gifts

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