Feeling Special

There’s just something about being made to feel special on your birthday. To some degree, you don’t want anyone making a fuss, especially as the numbers start getting bigger, but you don’t want people to forget about it either. There’s a happy medium for the day as a whole, and sometimes, some people can be allowed to make an event of it.

We’ve had two birthdays to celebrate recently, and both of the stars of the days got to have their moments thanks to some wonderful people who make Memphis a great place to be sometimes.

First up, our little baby boy, my precious tiny person, turned fifteen. He’s not so tiny these days. He’s actually considerably bigger than his mom. For his celebration, we had brunch at Restaurant Iris. I know we brag about them a lot, but they really deserve it. They went out of their way to make sure that his day would be unforgettable. First, the table was decorated especially for his birthday. Then, there were the menus, all topped with a “Happy Birthday, Patric!” And then there was his special dessert. Not every teenager can say that one of Food and Wine‘s Top 10 Best New Chefs made a batch of cookies just for him, but ours can. He still smiles whenever we talk about it.

Then there was last night. Paul’s mother turned 74 today (that’s 28 again if you listen to her). We treated her to the farmers’ market dinner at Erling Jensen. Unlike Restaurant Iris, they didn’t know we were there to celebrate, but once they knew, they made her feel like a princess. When the dessert course came around, the lights dimmed and she was served first, complete with candles and a restaurant-wide rendition of “Happy Birthday”. She didn’t stop smiling after that. That may have been the special birthday-girl glass of moscatel, but I’m going to give the credit to the candles.

It’s easy to say that those are just little things, really. Or that the people providing them are getting paid for it. But it’s one thing when your family makes a big deal out of your day — they’re supposed to. When you really feel special are times like these when people who aren’t your family actually take the time to do all of that. Patric would have felt special just by getting to have a great brunch. Paul’s mother felt special just by being at Erling Jensen. But now they both have an extra special memory to carry with them.

Maybe that’s just the difference between a good restaurant and a great restaurant, but I like to think that it’s more about the people. About taking joy from giving joy to others. About feeling special because you made someone else feel special.

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