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Sep 29, 2009


The thing I remember most about my wedding day was the incredible feeling of having almost everyone in the world that I loved in the same room with me. It was not something that I predicted or knew would happen, but I remember having a moment to myself to stand in the corner and look at all the people, all my people, who had come from all over to celebrate my wedding day with me.

I had another of these moments on Sunday.

Sunday was Colin’s first birthday party. I initially didn’t want it to be a big ordeal and really didn’t have time to devote to throwing a huge, unforgettable bash. This was reinforced by the fact that, being a first birthday party, it is inherently forgettable because of the nature of an almost one year old’s brain. He will not remember this party no matter how great it is, so getting all worked up about it would be a silly thing to do.

Noble thought, anyway.

Neither of us anticipated the emotional investment we already had in several random aspects of this party, but these investments reared their ugly, streamer strewn heads when Patrick and I were planning. Patrick based every single decision on what his parties had been like as a child. If he didn’t have it at his party, we certainly weren’t going to have it at Colin’s, says he. On the contrary, says I, I didn’t have birthday parties so this is going to be the best first birthday party on the planet, by god.

Why yes, we are crazy. Why do you ask?

It started with the cake. I assumed we would get a cake from a bakery, decorated all sweet. In fact, I had already designed it in my little brain. THINK AGAIN, says Patrick. His mother always made his birthday cakes and, as such, she would be making Colin’s. OVER MY DEAD BODY, says I.

This type of thing continued over everything, every aspect of the party, from the smallest appetizer (“The kids need to have fun food so we HAVE to get these 12 boxes of pigs in blankets and these 14 different shaped cheeses.”) to the largest gift. (“I can’t believe you got that for him. I never had one of those growing up.”) The more we talked, the clearer our differences became and the closer the party got, the less likely we were to compromise.

Name in Blocks

The day of the party – the hour of the party, actually – I picked up the cake. I had won that particular argument and had ordered it from the bakery where The Best Nephew Ever’s cakes always come from. I was excited about it. It was not exactly what I had wanted, but it was cute and I was pleased.


Patrick, upon looking at it, said, “I have to put my foot down. I don’t like it.” This was literally thirty minutes before guests start coming, our parents were already there and listening to this argument. The Baby Mama was actually standing between us.

“I don’t care if you like it! I can’t take it back and people are almost here!” I suddenly found myself in tears. Who knew I was this high strung?

“But I don’t like it! My cakes never looked like that!” His voice was considerably higher than usual.

“Well I can’t take it back!” I shrieked. It occurred to me that half of the party was already there and listening to us “celebrate” Colin’s birthday like this. We each stormed off and made ultra polite small talk for the next three hours.

But once people arrived and the kids all started playing and the food was served and devoured, nothing seemed like that big of a deal anymore. Colin was there, in the middle of everyone, laughing and playing and being altogether wonderful, despite the missed afternoon nap. He was amusing everyone with his one day old skill of taking several unassisted steps and flirted with everyone by shooting them smiles over his shoulder.

Peeps 3

Peeps 2


It was during this playtime, while I was making the rounds to see whose drink needed a top off, that I could zoom out and see the party for what it was. My little son, who was tucked away safe in my belly one short year ago, is now this perfect person in the center of a community, and he is well loved. There is no greater accomplishment of my life than to have provided this for him, no greater challenge than to introduce him to the concept of friends, to teach him what communities can do, to watch him as he makes his own way. Surrounded by friends and family and the spirits of those not present, he is learning what it is to be loved. He is off to a great start.


7 Readers rock!:

Dragonfly said...

Haha, I LOVE that last photo to bits.

XE said...

Oh, that chocolate face picture is priceless!

barrie said...

I was thinking about the "oh, he won't remember it" concept but he will see the photos and know that his first birthday was a big deal. I only vaguely remember my first communion party but it produced one of my most treasured photographs of my father and me :-)

Alykat said...

Happy Birthday, little Colin!

~Ashley said...

oh, i LOVE the chocolate icing all smooshed in between his little fingers!!!

Tiff said...

Absolutely perfect.

Anonymous said...

Blue eyes and chocolate frosting! Too cute!!!

-WV Kate