i make my mama happy 

Sooo, where were we, friends? Last I remember, I had promised to share the contents of Brooke’s amazingly decorated birthday boxes with you. And then life happened. And then another birthday party happened. And then I sort of laid down until the thought went away. But fear not, my patient (two or three) friends (who actually care), I’m back.

To recap, Brooke was working for a couple of weeks on my mystery birthday presents. She would disappear into her room for long stretches of time, letting me know only that her work was “a surprise.” When we went to my dad’s house the week before my birthday, she declared that we’d have a party there. And that it would be a surprise. She told me not to tell myself. I kept the secret safe. From me. As you do.

She brought balloons (a LOT of balloons) and even a wide variety of guests in the form of some of her favorite figurines. She found candles and insisted that I’d need them for my cake. She set up a party game, hiding small toys inside balloons then having me pop them to find out what was inside. In short, it was pretty damned spectacular.


{me blowing out the candles on the cake at my dad’s. Brooke’s face in this photo, as she is clearly trying to help blow, is the best thing ever.}

And then, as if the festivities weren’t enough, she gave me the most incredibly thoughtful gifts this mama’s heart could ever have imagined.

Now, being the walking yard sale that you know I am, I took these photos in the car on the way to my sister’s house in New Jersey this weekend (No, I wasn’t driving.) So artfully designed, well-lit, professional compositions they ain’t. That said, I’m pretty sure that nothing could be more beautiful than what you’re about to see. So here goes:


{the top of one of the boxes, which was, in another life, a shoe box from Ann Taylor Loft. She colored it a gorgeous array of colors with magic markers, then decorated it with stickers in a variety of colors and shapes. She also added the number 45 in yellow (my favorite, which I promise was not an accident) and wrote, “Happy B-day, Mama. I love you. Brooke”}


{a view of one of the ends of the box, colored in pink and purple and adorned with a flower, a Lego friend, a puppy, a tart and a blue triangle. You also now know that my feet are a size 6.5 and that the shoes were originally $59, but I can assure you I didn’t pay that for them as I don’t think I’ve ever paid full price for anything at Loft. Moving on.}


{the side of the box. This side is colored all pink and is adorned with a bunny, two stamps reading, “Excellent,” and “Terrific,” a Lego friend’s dog, a kitten and a puppy, an orange square, a yellow circle, and a house fashioned from an orange triangle and a yellow rectangle.}


{the other end of the box. I’m including all of this because I’m just blown away by the amount of work and attention to detail that went into it. This side is lavender and blue and is adorned with a pig, an ice cream cone, a mirror and perfume, another bunny, a red polka-dotted square, and a bunny.}


{the bottom of the box, which I hadn’t seen until I took the photos and which, frankly, blew me away. It is beautifully colored and, above two horses and a heart, reads in stenciled letters, “I make my Mama happy.” Truer words have never been spoken.}

Okay, after all of that I STILL haven’t shown you what’s inside. Ready? Ready.

Oh, but wait. Every single one of these things was something that she had in her room, found in the house, or made. Which I love even more. Okay, ready? Ready.

Oh, but wait.

Just kidding.

First there was the card.


{Made with one of her favorite apps, it’s a yellow birthday cake (she knows I love both the color yellow and lemon cake) adorned with strawberries, gummy bears, and lollipops, all of which happen to be her favorite things. Text reads, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mama.” She signed it with a heart and her name.}


{A teddy bear with a pink bow around its neck that covered in hearts and the word, “Love.”}


{The teddy bear’s tush, onto which she has taped a plastic purple heart. Because love.}


{An armful of bracelets – blue sparkly hearts, pop beads, a stretchy one just like her yellow one, and an angel bracelet}


{A gem-encrusted crown. Because obviously.}


{A BOOK. My very own book. On the cover is a blue heart and the title, “Hearts for love.” I’m using a red heart (that was also in the box) to cover her real name so that we can pretend it reads, “By, Brooke Wilson.”}


{Page one: A blue heart}


{Page two: a green heart}


{Page three: a yellow heart}


{Page four: a pink heart}


{Page five: an orange heart}


{Page six: a purple heart}


{Page seven: a rainbow heart}


{Page eight: a golden heart}


{Page nine: a silver heart}


{Page ten: a big red heart with a little red heart and the words, “I love you.”}


{The back cover: the words, “The lovely end!” inside a yellow heart}


{A colorful fidget ball}


{A plastic (yellow!) Easter egg}


{The glow-in-the-dark ceiling star inside the Easter egg}


{A fuse bead heart that she asked Luau to help her iron. Have I told you how much I love all of this? I mean, seriously.}


{A paper heart that she cut (by folding it in half and cutting out half a heart) and then colored red}


{A plastic turtle}


{A heart-shaped cardboard tag from a Beanie Baby, colored pink}


{The other half of the tag, colored yellow}


{A TJ Maxx tag colored hot pink. This might be my favorite part of this whole thing}


{Lest you think she only colored half of it, the other side of the TJ Maxx tag, also hot pink}


{A wooden snake}


{A penny}

And that, my friends, is what was inside the boxes and why I felt and feel so incredibly, perfectly blessed. To see Katie’s present to me, which is equally mind-blowingly incredible, click HERE.

Photos shared with Brooke’s enthusiastic permission. 

9 thoughts on “i make my mama happy 

  1. My heart is full from reading this post and seeing the pictures!! What wonderful beautiful gifts from both of your girls!! It is the beauty that Brooke finds in every day objects that we,meaning those who are not autistic, over look or toss to the side. The treasure of finding the penny and not the million dollars. The brilliant star you find when you crack open a yellow easter egg. Finding and creating the hearts- the love-that is right before our eyes that we so quickly and easily step over. The small details of life-your Brooke shines a light on them and wraps them up with love in a most amazing birthday present. Thank you or sharing her gift with us today!!

  2. Aw, Jess….this is just so awesome. Is there anything on this planet more endearing than the stuff our kids create for us out of the love in their hearts. You and Luau are doing a beautiful job with both your girls.

  3. My fave is the rainbow heart. My girl would like the plastic turtle. This is so the sort of thing I can imagine her doing for me in a couple of years (she says, hopefully…!). Love it all. Very precious xx

  4. Just curious, does she let you keep everything in her gifts, or does she ever ask for anything back? I noticed many of her gifts are a wonderful array of things she has found or created, and I can imagine my younger self gifting things that I love (in hopes that the recipient would love it too) and then wanting it back lol

  5. Love!!! In case there was any question, Brooke is as crazy about here mama as her mama is about her. What a beautiful bounty of birthday gifts.

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