On the day you turned one, I caught myself in a comparison spiral … thinking of your first birthday as it compared with your big sisters’ first (and subsequent) birthdays … and more than once, a tiny morsel of guilt crept in as yours ended up being much, much simpler than theirs have been.
To begin with, I didn’t even really plan a party for you … with harvest upon us and a wedding on my side of the family on the day of your birthday, I knew getting together would be challenging. So you didn’t get a pretty invitation sent out (like your sisters usually do). I’m sorry.
Then, once Grandma Denise and I decided we COULD get together, everything was a bit rushed … who knew building two lasagnas with three kids present could spark so many feelings of overwhelm in your mother?
And your cake? Though I generally spend A LOT of time with the big girls browsing Pinterest for cupcake or cake ideas, settling on the PERFECT one (for someone else to make), I spent zero minutes looking for an idea for your birthday cake, Cambri. I phoned the grocery store the morning of your birthday and simply asked them to make something cute and girly for a one-year-old. I would pick it up that afternoon. I’m sorry.
And decorations? I ALWAYS hang up our “Happy Birthday” sign, and place balloons about. We use a special table cloth, and we purchase pretty napkins and plates. Guess what? I did NONE of this for your birthday, Cambri. NONE of it. I did purchase a few helium balloons for your chair (15 minutes AFTER the store was closed … bless your heart, Barb), but that’s it … no fancy decorations for you, Sweet Girl. I’m sorry.
I also failed to dress everyone up for this party … your sisters wore “regular” clothes and a “regular” hairdo. Me too. I did not put you in a fancy dress either (I’m actually not even sure that we have one) … in fact, I opted to strip you down to your diaper to eat lasagna instead. And I kept you stripped down for the cake tackle too. So you’re close to naked in your first birthday video and photos … I’m sorry.
We didn’t get the “perfect” photo of you and all of your cousins surrounding you.
We didn’t capture the sweetness of six little people in party hats. I’m sorry.
And, I didn’t even buy you a birthday present. We looked. I racked my brain, but I honestly couldn’t come up with anything that was going to make our lives (or your life) better. You’re happiest with a new drawer or cupboard to empty (and there’s none of those available at the store). So I put $50 inside a homemade card that your biggest sis made for you. And that is all … that is your first-birthday present, Cambri. I’m sorry.
As I moved through the day of your birth day, I did think about where I was the day you were born … in a recovery room, 300 miles away from home and your big sisters. You were down the hall somewhere being assessed and cared for by a team of NICU nurses. Your dad was with ME, thankfully, and I spoke to Jacqueline on the phone as we discussed your middle name, and settled on Joy.
I thought a bit about our journey over this past year, and in particular, I thought about how far you’ve come (how far we’ve all come) … you’re walking now, sweet little girl, and we’re all here with you, cheering you on, every step of the way! You’re a special gift to our family, Cambri, and we couldn’t be more grateful that you’re alive and well and here with us now. We all love you to pieces! You’ve strengthened our bond incredibly as we all delight in everything you do, everything you are!
Thankfully, my guilt over a simpler birthday celebration didn’t get the best of me … it wasn’t a PERFECT birthday, in the way I might have thought it SHOULD BE in the past. There was no invitation, no extravagant cake, no pretty clothes, and no fancy decorations, but we were together, all of us, for supper, celebrating YOU. And you seemed to love it ALL!
And Mommy learned something VERY IMPORTANT along the way … Simple is fine! In fact, simple CAN still BE quite beautiful!
Happy first birthday, Cambri!