This past weekend, we celebrated our Little Dude’s first birthday – a momentous occasion, to be sure! As I’m sure many parents can agree, though, that first party is really more for the parent(s). Sure, the gifts are for the kiddo, and I’m sure the little bambino loves that smash cake. But the celebration is really that the parent(s) survived one whole year with this little bundle of need.
A lot of people have said to me, “One year already!?” and I smile and chuckle and say, “Yep, I know. It’s crazy, time flies!” I don’t know why I say that. Well, okay… On one hand, it’s true. Time does fly – once you’re looking backward. But when you’re in the moment, especially those really tough moments, time seems to stand still. Every day that was filled with dirty dishes, laundry, a teething baby who couldn’t sleep, a dog who desperately needed attention and exercise, and a husband who was slammed at work and got home later than expected – those days felt like they’d never end. And there have been plenty of days like that. So believe me when I say that I feel every minute of this first year deep in my overwhelmed, sleep deprived, on-the-verge-of-a-breakdown body. “Already”? No no no. More like “FINALLY”. Finally I have a real notch in my belt, one that says “I deserve a damn medal because my kid, my husband, and the dog are alive, and guess what? I’m not completely insane (yet).”
So to celebrate the survival of my first year of motherhood, we threw a party for the kid. I tried not to go over the top, but let’s face it: I love throwing parties. However, most of what I did was homemade, because I’m also thrifty. I designed, printed, and cut out his invitations. I sliced up paper and made banners. I made a wreath using supplies that I already had around the house, plus a couple of additional cheap goodies. I strung up a banner showcasing his monthly pictures (newborn – 1 year). I made matching t-shirts for Little Dude, Hubs, and I to wear (I know, sickeningly adorable). The theme was baseball, so we even had baseball park food: hot dogs, nachos, soft pretzel bites, Cracker Jacks, sunflower seeds, and a strawberry & blueberry salad to appear somewhat healthy, complete with a banner hanging over the buffet reading “Concessions”. On the day of the party I woke up at 3am and couldn’t fall back to sleep. At 6, I got up and gave myself a special pedicure – you guessed it: baseball themed. Then I ran to the store for some last minute supplies, stopped for a giant coffee on the way home, and went into full party mode. The living & dining rooms were completely rearranged to make room for all the tiny kiddos that would soon be arriving. Hubs grilled the hot dogs, the nacho cheese was put in the crock pot to warm, and the cake & cupcakes were frosted. Just in time, I ran back and changed into my t-shirt, threw my hair into a braid (that would later be pulled out), and slapped on a little mascara. It was party time!
It was a wonderful day full of celebration, and complete adoration of our curious, adventurous, energetic Little Dude. This first year may have been rough at times, but overall I think that the scale is tipping more toward incredible. Incredible that we created this amazing little guy. Incredible that he looks at me with love and trust in his eyes, and a smile on his face, despite all the times I’ve lost my cool with him. Incredible to watch him learn and grow, and become who he is meant to be. Incredible that Hubs and I are still together and more determined than ever to keep the love alive during the tough moments and days. Incredible that we have so many more of these years ahead of us, that we’ll one day look back on and summarize in a nutshell while trying to hold onto all of the sweet memories. Incredible that my name is now Mom.
And for all those crazy, stressful, scary, maddening moments, there’s at least one moment like this:
I love you, Buddy. Happy First Birthday.