I just finished packing 24 little goodie bags for the boys’ birthday party tomorrow. I’m hoping 24 is enough. When you do the dual-birthday-party, you end up with double the kids in one party. Due to life and holidays and all that jazz, I don’t think we’ll have more than 24, but I have extra bags to fill just in case.
I’ve been thinking a lot about birthdays this week, with BigBrother’s special day falling this past Monday and LittleBrother’s coming up this Monday. TimeHop featured parties from the past couple of years over the week as well, reminding me what I looked like three years ago going into the boys’ birthday, the day my legs buckled in the parking lot due to the pain. A lot has changed since that party; I’ve changed a lot since that party. A lot has changed over the many years of these parties.
Birthday week always makes me turn inward, to look over the past year—the past years.
I remember my only goal seven years ago was to get through BigBrother’s second birthday party without going into labor. I was very pregnant, very achy and just coming off Level III bed rest again. And still I planned a birthday party for my oldest son, a Thomas theme. I refused to not have a party; I felt compelled to celebrate this only son of ours one last time before his brother joined the picture. By the end of the party, my shoes were off because of the swelling, but I made it.
Who is that little blonde child, leaned back with ease in my lap? Who is that barefoot and pregnant, short-haired woman?
LittleBrother was born six days after this party.
I think of the people who were at the early parties, who aren’t now—because of death, because of life, because of friendships that come and go. I think of those people who will be at the party tomorrow who weren’t at the early parties—because it took me awhile to find my feet here in Ohio, to make friends and keep them, to make meaningful connections with people who wanted to love my family through all things. I think of the times my daughter’s family was able to make it for a party, and how long that’s been now. My heart skips a beat when I think of it now, of how much it would mean to the boys, of how hard it is to make any of that work.
I think of how early parties consisted of our families and friends we had, as parents, and their children. And how it remains that way now, but with the addition of their friends they’ve made in their own spaces on their own time. Of how that will continue: their friends, their way. I offered each boy an out of the birthday party this year, but they wanted a party with their friends. And who can blame them, still and yet? I don’t throw parties with big themes to impress my friends or theirs; I throw parties because my sons think their mommy throws the best parties ever.
And so tomorrow I’ll put on my extrovert face and go do all of the extroverted things. And tomorrow night, I’ll cuddle up in the corner of the couch, and breathe the deep breaths of a mother who just threw another party. I’ll look back on pictures of this year some year in the future and remember the ninja theme, the people who stood with us while we celebrated these two boys; I will give thanks for another year, gone; another year, waiting.