Jennifer Garner's mom Pat has sweetest birthday tradition.
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Jennifer Garner’s Mom Started The Sweetest Birthday Tradition & You’ll Want To Copy It

The actress said “it’s the best gift in the world.”

As much as fans love Jennifer Garner, it’s possible they might love her mom Pat Garner even more. Pat has become a regular fixture on her daughter’s Instagram feed, and fans have come to deeply appreciate her kind nature, her easy humor, and her authenticity. Especially when it comes to the actress’ Pretend Cooking Show, where the two have been known to get hilariously chaotic as they try to recreate some family favorites. Their genuine love of each other is infectious, and they are interested in each other. So much so that Pat Garner developed a sweet birthday tradition with her daughter to help them stay connected to each other not just as mother and daughter, but as women with their own stories to tell.

Pat Garner joined her daughter on the TODAY Show this week to talk about family, cooking, and her newfound fame at 86 years old which she “loves.” Because, as Jennifer said, they both enjoy the “nice kind of fame.” The kind where people just say hi and talk to them. Which sounds pretty great.

The two women also talked about their longstanding birthday tradition. “I’ve been writing about my life for Jennifer for her birthdays for years,” Pat shared, and her daughter agreed that the story of her mom’s life is the “best gift” she could get.

“She’ll write me a little book of memories from the farm or us growing up. It’s the best gift in the world,” the mom of three shared.

Pat is also grandmother to seven grandchildren, including Jennifer’s 18-year-old daughter Violet, 15-year-old daughter Seraphina, and 12-year-old son Samuel with ex-husband Ben Affleck, and when asked to describe her mom’s grandparenting style, the actress called her “cozy.” Which in some ways describes Pat’s relaxed parenting style as well. “I tried to be the disciplinarian because the parents that I admired were disciplinarians, but I’m not really,” she admitted.

It’s a quality Jennifer Garner has inherited herself. The mom of three famously advocated for a bit of “benign neglect” when parenting her kids, giving them the autonomy to make mistakes and see her enjoying her own life. A skill she seems to have learned from years of admiring her own mom.

Clearly a bit of benign neglect kept these two women close through the years. Helped along significantly by Pat Garner’s yearly birthday gift. The gift of her own story.